Health Care

The Criminal Indifference of Collective Health Care

Chris Gard and Connie Yates finally surrendered to the collective, effectively ending the battle to save their 11-month-old son Charlie.

Arnold Ahlert · Jul. 27, 2017

“If you demand the collective to pay for your medical expenses, then be prepared for the collective to demand to make your medical decisions for you.” —author A.E. Samaan

On Monday, Chris Gard and Connie Yates finally surrendered to the collective, dropping their latest court fight to take their 11-month-old son Charlie to New York for nucleoside bypass therapy (NBT). Columbia University Medical Center neurologist Dr. Michio Hirano had offered to treat Charlie, but an MRI scan revealed in court last Friday showed the boy’s muscles had deteriorated to the point where the experimental treatment could no longer save him.

Thus, Charlie will be allowed to “die with dignity,” just as the physicians at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and their courtroom allies envisioned it.

Charlie was born healthy last August, but a month later he became the sixteenth person in the world diagnosed with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a debilitating and ultimately fatal disease.

Undeterred, Charlie’s parents began a crowd-funding campaign last January, raising almost $2 million for his trip to America.

GOSH physicians were having none of it. They insisted Charlie was beyond hope and requested the courts provide them with the legal power to take him off life support.

A drawn out legal ordeal ensued. On April 11, Justice Nicholas Francis sided with GOSH. Charlie’s parents appealed. On May 25, the Court of Appeals upheld Francis’ ruling. The parents appealed again. On June 9, a panel of three Supreme Court justices also rejected the parents’ challenge but gave the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the chance to consider the case. On June 27, the ECHR sided with the British courts and said its decision was “final.”

In short, GOSH and the courts completely usurped anything resembling parental rights for over a third of Charlie’s lifetime.

Speaking to the High Court on Monday, Connie Yates illuminated this outrage in no uncertain terms. “There is one simple reason for Charlie’s muscles deteriorating to the extent they are in now — TIME,” she stated. “A whole lot of wasted time. Had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.”

Instead, Charlie was left “to just lie in hospital for months without any treatment whilst lengthy court battles have been fought” — even though, she added, she and Chris had been told repeatedly the baby “has a ‘progressive disease.’”

A final insult was inflicted on the parents last Friday. Gard and Yates stormed out of the courtroom after a lawyer for GOSH said a new scan of Charlie’s brain made for “sad reading.” Sadder still is the reality the scan was made available to the court before the parents had a chance to see it.

“None of the added hell Chris and Connie experienced over the last several months was necessary or warranted,” attorney Wesley J. Smith states. “As their difficult decision [Monday] indicates, they would have made the proper call if allowed to run the options string to its conclusion — as should have been their right.”

Smith also believes the “hard obstinacy of doctors and courts refusing to allow parents to try experimental care for their baby has both sown distrust and raised fears that utilitarian bioethics will readily abandon the sickest and most vulnerable among us on the altar of ‘quality of life’ and/or cost containment.”

Charlie Gard proves they already do. Moreover, one gets the disquieting sense that those invested in the collective medical care that engenders so-called utilitarian bioethics were not nearly as worried that Charlie might die if his parents were allowed to pursue a long-shot treatment, but that he might live, becoming the financial burden the medical collectivists cannot abide.

Hence, the counter-attack by GOSH and the case’s original and final jurist, Justice Francis. The hospital accused Dr. Hirano of giving “false hope” to Gard and Yates. Hospital representatives issued a statement expressing that “those who, like [Hirano], have provided the opinions that have so sustained Charlie’s parents, their hopes and thus this protracted litigation with its many consequences, will also find much upon which to reflect.”

The hospital was further incensed that Hirano “retains a financial interest in some of the NBT compounds he proposed prescribing for Charlie,” and that his failure to personally visit the infant, review his medical records or other opinions about his condition “confirms that whilst NBT may well assist others in the future, it cannot and could not have assisted Charlie.”

Lord Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London, also piled on, insisting GOSH doctors have just as much knowledge as Hirano and that “it was rather wicked to give the parents the idea that somehow had this baby been treated earlier it would have made a difference.”

Justice Francis aimed his ire at social media. “A lot of things have been said by those who know almost nothing about this case but who feel entitled to express opinions … based on feelings rather than facts,” he stated, adding it was his “duty” to condemn those who insisted Charlie has been imprisoned by the National Health Service or that it, not the courts, had power to decide Charlie’s fate. “In this country children have rights independent of their parents,” Francis declared.

What semantical nonsense. An 11-month-old child, completely incapable of communicating anything to anyone, hasn’t been granted rights at all. Quite simply, the judge transferred those rights to the state and framed that transfer as independence — while making it clear Charlie’s parents remain completely out of the loop.

The Wall Street Journal correctly framed that contemptible reality. “The message from these medical and legal officials arrayed against the parents was this: How dare you look for a second opinion,” it stated.

How dare you even get the time to do so. As columnist Daniel Payne explains, GOSH and the British court system “effectively ran out the clock on Charlie, in the same way a professional football team will run out the clock at the end of the fourth quarter.”

Here in America, we’re in our own fourth quarter. In a complete betrayal of the voters who propelled them to House and Senate majorities in 2010 and 2014, respectively, the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass a straight ObamaCare repeal yesterday. Seven Republican senators — Lamar Alexander, Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Rob Portman —joined every Democrat to defeat it by a 55-45 margin. Even worse, every one but Collins voted in favor of an identical repeal bill in 2015.

On Wednesday, Charlie’s parents were told their son will be transferred to hospice and taken off life support unless another arrangement can be reached by noon today. They had found a doctor who would look after him while they spent a few days with him, but GOSH objected, saying he lacked the qualifications necessary to maintain the care Charlie needs. They also objected to giving the parents 48 hours to find another one. It is “simply unacceptable that this drag on into a further week,” Fiona Paterson, a lawyer for the hospital, told the court. “It is for no gain.”

“Charlie Gard has shown us our future under the Affordable Care Act,” warns Twila Brase, president and co-founder of the Citizens’ Council for Health and Freedom.

Courtesy of the GOP, the future is here.

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