On July 28, one week before his first birthday, Charlie Gard was moved to a hospice and removed from his ventilator. He died 12 minutes later.
His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, told the Daily Mail that after the ventilator was removed, their infant son “opened his eyes and looked at us one last time and closed them before he passed away.”
It was the culmination of a year-long battle over the rights of parents and futile care. The Great Ormond Street Hospital where young Charlie received care since October 2016 for complications related to a rare mitochondrial disease decided in March that it could not do anything more for him. Doctors said that further surgery would cause Charlie unnecessary pain without much prospect of improvement.
The hospital and parents fought over care decisions including a legal spat over moving the child to the United States for experimental therapy.
The judges repeatedly ruled in favour of the hospital, where doctors wanted to remove Charlie from his ventilator, refused to release the child in order to let him travel to the United States for care, or allow the baby’s parents to take him home to live his final days.
The family raised $1.5 million to move and treat Charlie at an unnamed American hospital, but the British courts blocked removing the infant from his quarters at Great Osmond.
The case made international headlines when both U.S. President Donald Trump and Pope Francis tweeted in favour of the rights of the parents.