Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Dr Michio Hirano of Columbia University is Examining Charlie Gard in England

Dr Michio Hirano of Columbia University is Examining Charlie Gard in England

High Court Judge Nicholas Francis said Friday he is "open-minded about the evidence" to come after the visit of Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University.

Hirano's research focuses on mitochondrial diseases and genetic myopathies and he has treated others with conditions similar to Charlie's.

Ms Yates and Charlie's father, Chris Gard, want Mr Justice Francis to rule that Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial overseen by Dr Hirano in NY.

The American doctor flying to the United Kingdom tomorrow to examine the terminally ill baby Charlie Gard has been working closely with the British medical establishment for more than 14 years.

But last week, the case returned to the High Court after the hospital asked for a new hearing to consider new evidence from Hirano.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street argue life support should be withdrawn, saying that Charlie's condition - a form of mitochondrial disease which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage - would affect his quality of life.

While he has not seen the baby in person, he said that the tests on Charlie's brain show "disorganisation of brain activity and not major structural brain damage".

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The couple has already lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London, and they have failed to persuade the European Court of Human Rights to intervene in their case.

Hirano had estimated that there will be a 10 percent chance of "meaningful success" for the baby using nucleoside treatment.

"In my view my keeping Charlie on artificial ventilation will not cause significant harm because he does not seem to be in pain", he said.

Hirano will assess Charlie, meet his current immediate-care team and other specialists, including a doctor from the Vatican children's hospital. After much debate in court on Friday over whether Charlie's parents will be present for this, the Judge announced that Yates will be allowed to attend.

Great Ormond Street Hospital requested a new hearing after the New York-based neurologist claimed his treatment could now have a better chance of working. An individual, who will remain anonymous by court order, will chair the meetings.

Francis has promised to rule by July 25.

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