Let it be

I’m sorry if this upsets anyone, but I feel real anger at the egotism and pig-headedness of the parents of poor little Charlie Gard. They seem to live in another world where what they want is ipso facto right, and where the dedicated, hugely experienced pediatricians and palliative care team at Great Ormond Street Hospital are always wrong because they don’t agree with the parents. The latter now want to cart the little lad back home, not to his benefit or to make his life a jot easier, but so that they can watch him die in his own room for the few hours of life he has left, and hang all the practicalities like lugging him from the ambulance to his bedroom without his deep-set ventilator system, which hiatus in life support would probably kill him before he got to the front door. From the outset the whole sorry affair seems to have been more about them and what they want than about him and what’s best for him.

And of course the Diana syndrome has kicked in big time with the British public. The hysterical and vile messages and threats against the hospital staff, (and, in fairness, against the parents too), the filthy posts put out on FB and Twitter, stirred up by the melodramatic theatrical poses of the parents – her screaming in court, him rushing out of court in tears, the threats or insults they issue on the court steps (where better to be seen and heard?) on an almost daily basis, and now working completely against the hospital more to prove themselves right than to ease Charlie’s fate.

charlie.jpgHe cannot see, he cannot hear. He cannot make a noise, he cannot move. He cannot feed unaided, he cannot breathe unaided. He never will. The best that can happen to this little lad is that he’ll get no worse. That isn’t life. It’s death kept at bay by a ventilator. A non-involved pediatrician stated: There is no known proven cure for his condition, but at the moment he is stable and could, in theory, be kept alive for an indefinite period of time. Like a culture on a petri dish, then.

Let him slip away quickly, mindlessly (for he knows nothing of fear, surely?) and peacefully. Let it be in the hospital which, God knows, bends over backwards to make wards as parent-welcoming and as near domestic as it can. And for the little boy’s sake, let it be soon. And don’t anyone dare think I say that lightly – I’m a parent too. But my child’s present and future quality of life would make it imperative, in these bleak and unalterable circumstances, that I should agree to let the child die. It would be appallingly painful for me. But sometimes the unendurable must be endured. I hope… I believe I’d be loving and brave enough to see such a terrible decision through. I think all you parents reading this would hope the same of yourselves. But Charlie’s parents seem too often to feel sorry for themselves more than their baby. “Life can be so cruel. So bloody cruel,” said his father earlier this year. “Why did this have to happen to us?” And, post-mortem, Ms Yates hit out at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which she said had “denied us our final wish”.

“Us” ?? “Our”?