British baby Charlie Gard to be evaluated by United States doctor

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             Charlie Gard has been cared for at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London

The parents of the terminally-ill British baby Charlie Gard have returned to London's High Court to continue a hearing over whether they are allowed to take their son to the US for medical treatment.

The degenerative disease has left Charlie with brain damage and he relies on a ventilator to keep him alive.

Mr Justice Francis on Friday said Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Centre in NY, could be named in media reports.

The case attracted worldwide attention after President Donald Trump and Pope Francis weighed in last week.

Dr Hirano told the court there was between an 11 and 56 per cent chance that the treatment could help Charlie's muscular strength and a "small but significant" chance it could improve brain function. "Ultimately, decision about further treatment should be made by Charlie's parents in consultation with the doctors they choose, and not by any court".

"It appears the judge will not issue a ruling until July 25, which is a significant victory for the family", Rev. Patrick Mahoney, an global human rights activist, told LifeSiteNews.

A British judge says it is inexcusable that a hospital treating critically ill baby Charlie Gard has been abused and threatened.

"It may be unconventional, but this case is full of unconventional aspects", the judge said.

Speaking on behalf of "the entire family and their supporters", spokesman Alasdair Seton-Marsden said their attention had been drawn to "certain threats" against the judiciary, barristers representing Great Ormond Street, and against doctors and nurses at the hospital.

On Thursday, Gard's parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates stormed out of the courtroom, in the latest controversy in what has been a fierce court battle, after the court adjourned when the judge requested further evidence of the baby's development. Gard's court appointed guardian, who represents a child's interests instead of the child's parents in the United Kingdom legal system, argued against allowing Gard to be treated. The couple yelled and walked out, but returned after a short break Thursday.

"We now live in a health-care system that is hyper-focused on controlling costs in terms of providing treatment", he said. The judge offered a reassuring word, acknowledging that the situation was desperate. The rights of the child take primacy, with the courts weighing issues such as whether a child is suffering and how much benefit a proposed treatment might produce. "If he was we wouldn't be up here fighting".

Today was the last day of Charlie Gard's court case for at least several days.

"They wish to exhaust all possible options", said Richard Gordon QC, who is leading the parents' legal team. "That will be the only consideration of the judge at the hearing".

Mr Justice Francis is expected to rule on 25 July on whether Gard will be able to travel to the U.S. for the treatment.

Great Ormond Street Hospital says experimental treatment in America won't help and may cause the child to suffer.

A petition is circulating concerning Charlie's condition, with just under 500,000 signatures, at Citizengo.org. She said it has been "absolute living hell" to wait and wonder when the hospital might end his life support.

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