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European court refuses to intervene over sick British baby

Associated Press logo Associated Press 28/06/2017

LONDON — The parents of a terminally-ill baby boy lost the final stage of their legal battle to take him out of a British hospital to receive treatment in the U.S., after a European court agreed with previous rulings that the baby should be taken off life support.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates wanted doctors to use artificial means to keep alive 10-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, until they can take him to the U.S. for the experimental therapy.

But the France-based European Court of Human Rights declined to hear the case Tuesday, instead endorsing earlier rulings by three British courts that found further treatment would cause the baby "significant harm" if his suffering is prolonged. Specialist doctors have said the proposed therapy wouldn't help and isn't in Charlie's best interest.

Tuesday's decision was the final one in a nearly four-month long battle by his parents.

London's Great Ormond Street Hospital said it would consider the next steps with Charlie's parents and that there was "no rush" to end life support for the baby.

"(The) decision by the European Court of Human Rights marks the end of what has been a very difficult process and our priority is to provide every possible support to Charlie's parents as we prepare for the next steps," it said.

Charlie has a rare inherited condition and brain damage and can't move his arms or legs or breathe unaided.

His parents have raised nearly 1.4 million pounds ($1.8 million) for Charlie's treatment. Yates had said previously that the funds will be used to support children with similar genetic disorders should they lose their case.

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This story has been corrected to show that the day of the ruling was Tuesday, not Wednesday.

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