11:20, July 24 381 0 theguardian.com

2017-07-24 11:20:03
Timeline: Charlie Gard and his parents' legal battle to save him

The critically ill baby, Charlie Gard, has been at the centre of a legal fight that has progressed through the UK courts, to the European court of human rights and back to the high court, with his parents forced to suffer months of anguish as they fought to save their child.

  • 4 August 2016 – Charlie Gard is born a “perfectly healthy” baby at full term and at a “healthy weight”.

  • September 2016 – His parents notice he is less able to lift his head and support himself than other babies of a similar age. Doctors discover that he has a rare inherited disease – infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS).

  • October 2016 – Charlie has become lethargic and his breathing is shallow. He is transferred to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London on 11 October.
  • January 2017 – A crowdfunding page is set up to help finance trial therapy in the United States.

  • 3 March 2017 – Great Ormond Street bosses ask the high court judge, Mr Justice Francis, to rule that life-support treatment should stop.

  • 11 April – The judge says doctors can stop providing life-support treatment after analysing the case at a hearing in the family division of the high court.

  • 3 May – Charlie’s parents ask three court of appeal judges to consider the case but less than three weeks later their appeal is dismissed.
  • 8 June – Charlie’s parents lose their fight in the supreme court.

  • 20 June – The case proceeds to the European court of human rights but a week later it is announced that the European judges have refused to intervene. A Great Ormond Street spokeswoman says there will be “no rush” to change Charlie’s care and says there will be “careful planning and discussion”.
  • 30 June – It is thought that Charlie’s life-support is due to be switched off but his parents say that Great Ormond Street doctors have agreed to “give us a little bit more time” with Charlie. They ask for privacy “while we prepare to say the final goodbye”.
  • 2-3 July – Pope Francis and the US president Donald Trump intervene; the former calling for the couple to be allowed to “accompany and treat their child until the end”, saying he has followed the case with “affection and sadness”.
  • 4 July – Bambino Gesu, the Vatican’s children’s hospital in Rome, offers to take Charlie in.

  • 10 July – Charlie’s parents return to the high court and ask Mr Justice Francis to carry out fresh analysis of the case. The judge says he will consider any new evidence.

  • 17 July – Dr Michio Hirano, the New York neurology professor who offered to treat Charlie, travels to London to examine the little boy, discuss the case with Great Ormond Street doctors and other clinicians and examine fresh scans.

  • 21 July – The lawyer representing Great Ormond Street says the new scan makes for “sad reading”.

  • 22 July – Great Ormond Street chairwoman Mary MacLeod says doctors and nurses have been subjected to abuse in the street and received thousands of threatening messages. Charlie’s parents had previously urged people not to send abuse to Great Ormond Street staff.

  • 24 July – The judge’s decision was initially expected the next day but a lawyer representing Charlie’s parents say they are ending their legal fight over his treatment.