Police probe death threats against London hospital staff

Charles Krauthammer

Medical staff at the hospital treating sick baby Charlie Gard have received death threats, it has emerged.

Reacting to the abuse directed at staff Mary MacLeod, chairman of the hospital, said in a statement: "Great Ormond Street Hospital cares for many thousands of seriously unwell children every year, providing outstanding treatment for those who need it most". Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats.

The hospital believes that 11-month-old Charlie has suffered irreversible brain damage that treatment can not fix.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard are hoping to stop the hospital from turning off their son's life support so that they can pursue experimental treatments in the United States for his rare form of a mitochondrial disease.

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His parents have been battling in the courts for permission to take him to the U.S. for treatment, but Great Ormond Street says this would not help. The hospital says the treatment would cause suffering and would not help his situation, suggesting that life-support to the baby should stop.

Mr. Justice Francis of the family division of the High Court in London is scheduled to review all of the latest evidence in the Charlie Gard case on Monday. In some cases parents of other sick children have been harassed while trying to visit, they said.

"However, in recent weeks the GOSH community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance". Last week, an American doctor flew to London to evaluate Charlie Gard in the hopes of convincing the courts (if not his doctors) that the 11-month-old could potentially benefit from such treatment.

Charlie Gard's case is a heart-breaking one.

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The case has garnered global attention and even drawn comment from President Donald Trump and Pope Francis. We fully understand that there is intense public interest, and that emotions run high.

British and European courts have so far backed the doctors' position, ruling that transferring Charlie to the USA would prolong suffering without a realistic prospect of success.

A lawyer representing the hospital said in a brief hearing Friday that the latest brain scan results make for "sad reading".

"Great Ormond Street Hospital is in close contact with the Metropolitan police and we will do everything possible to hold to account anybody who involved in this kind of deplorable behaviour".

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Charlie has been examined by Dr. Michio Hirano, an American neurology expert from Columbia Medical Center in NY who has designed the proposed experimental treatment.

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