Doctors can withdraw life-support treatment from a baby with a rare genetic condition against his parents' wishes, a High Court judge has ruled.
There was a scream of 'no' in the court today as Mr Justice Francis announced his decision.
He had had analysed evidence over three days and had visited eight-month-old Charlie Gard at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) before making his decision.
Specialists at the London hospital think it is time to stop providing life support treatment for Charlie. Doctors say the boy, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, should move to a palliative care regime.
But Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates of Bedfont, Hounslow, disagree, and wanted to take their eight-month-old son to an American hospital for a treatment trial.
They had launched an appeal on the GoFundMe website two months ago, saying they needed £1.2 million to fund treatment and reached their target on Sunday (April 9).
Charlie, who was born on August 4, 2016, has a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
But Mr Justice Francis today (Tuesday, April 11) ruled that life-support treatment should stop after analysing evidence at a hearing in the family division of the High Court.
Giving his ruling, Mr Justice Francis said he had made the decision with the "heaviest of hearts" but with "complete conviction" for Charlie's best interests.
He told the court: “The judge must decide what is in the child’s best interests. In making that decision, the welfare of the child is paramount, and the judge must look at the question from the assumed point of view of the child.
“There is a strong presumption in favour of a course of action which will prolong life, but that presumption is not irrefutable.
“The term ‘best interests’ encompasses medical, emotional, and all other welfare issues.”
Pic credit: PA
He added: “It is with the heaviest of hearts, but with complete conviction for Charlie’s best interests, that I find it is in Charlie’s best interests that I accede to these applications and rule that GOSH may lawfully withdraw all treatment save for palliative care to permit Charlie to die with dignity.”