Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie CREDIT: PA images

Baby Charlie Gard died today in the UK, just a week short of his first birthday, after a heart wrenching legal battle. The Pope, a US congressional committee and pro-life groups rallied with the baby’s parents to raise awareness of his need for experimental medical treatment in the United States. The parents raised more than 1.3 million pounds ($1.7 million) in the hopes of bringing Charlie to the US for care.

Charlie had a rare inherited disease – infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). A court battle between Charlie’s parents and the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London had been ongoing since March, when hospital officials advised that the baby’s life support be switched off.

“May he rest in peace. And may his parents know the consolation of our hope in Christ,” wrote Fr. Steve Mattson, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, who led the battle to save the lives of the unborn in Michigan, by taking over the WomanCare abortion clinic three years ago and opening up the New Life Center.

Commenting in the North Carolina News and Observer, medical ethicist Arthur Caplan said the Charlie Gard case shows how the medical profession is struggling to adjust to the age of social media, which puts the general public in the middle of decisions that in the past would have been private issues for doctors and the family.

Caplan, of New York University’s Langone Medical Center says, “I do think that in an era of social media, it is possible to rally huge numbers of people to your cause … the medical ethics have not caught up.”

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