European rights court urges UK to keep treating baby with rare condition

June 13, 2017

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday ordered the British government to keep providing a baby with a rare genetic disease with "appropriate" treatment after a London High Court ruling that he should be allowed to die with dignity.

The Strasbourg-based ECHR said British doctors should continue to provide 10-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a and has brain damage, "with such treatment and nursing care as may be appropriate to ensure that he suffers the least distress and retains the greatest dignity consistent, insofar as possible, with maintaining life."

In April, a High Court judge ruled that life support for the child should be switched off, rejecting an emergency appeal by his parents, who want to take him to the United States for treatment.

The ECHR said Charlie's parents had filed a request for an urgent interim measure to stay the London ruling to allow the European Court to examine the request which it said had received "detailed consideration".

A court statement added that "in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it," it was asking the British government to prolong the application of the interim measure until June 19, extending its initial demand to continue treatment through to June 9.

Interim ECHR measures are urgent exceptional measures granted only in cases where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.

They are also binding on the British government rather than the hospital treating Charlie.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where the baby is being treated, had asked the High Court judge to rule on the legality of withdrawing life-support treatment.

The child's parents want to take him to the United States for experimental treatment for his form of mitochondrial disease, which causes .

His family have raised more than £1.2 million ($1.5 million, 1.4 million euros) has been raised online for the treatment, through more than 80,000 donations.

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