Charlie Gard; the Fundamental Divide

The Charlie Gard affair became quite a divisive thing. (But also brought some people together, like Senator Cruz, President Trump, and Pope Francis, a trio that seems rather unlikely, but who all agreed here.) Particularly between the American Right to Life movement and some of our friends. One of the people in Britain whom I respect a good deal is Melanie Phillips, I’ve read and listened to her for years, and she is a spokesman for common sense and yes conservatism. But on this issue something strange happened. Watch.

The problem is fundamental, in our view of who owns a baby. Let’s let Lady Penguin of Unified Patriots spell it out.

Recently, William McGurn of the WSJ, wrote a thoughtful and compassionate article regarding the situation of Charlie Gard. WSJ has a paywall, here is another source:
I agreed 100% with Mr. McGurn’s perspective, and had some additional thoughts/perspective to add regarding this tragic story.

Let’s go back to 1930’s Germany. Hitler went through the hospitals and killed the old, the sick, the infirm, and the disabled. Family and friends of loved ones who they expected to return home or at least be cared for in the health institutions of that era, never saw them again. Essentially, the “undesirables” of society ended up as part of the millions killed in the Holocaust. Too few people study Germany and the changes in her cultural institutions before World War II, but that’s critical to ultimately understanding the onset of that war. Germany had to be groomed by Hitler in the 1930’s to pave the way for his plans of taking over Europe and initiating/completing his “Final Solution.” Those plans included not only Jews, but the weak, disabled, elderly and his political opponents.

Charlie Gard’s story gives us a glimpse of this same pathway. Britain’s National Health Service has been set up to “own” the individual – whether child or adult. When Charlie was born and had to be placed in neonatal intensive care, the NHS terminated the parental rights of Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard. The parents have spent precious months fighting for the right to take the baby out of the NHS and come to America where a physician was willing to try an experimental treatment. In baby Charlie’s case, it wasn’t even about money because the parents had independently raised the necessary funds, but it is/was about who has the RIGHT to determine what was best for Charlie.

The parents wanted to try anything possible to save his life – the State decided nothing was possible and took all control of Charlie away from Connie and Chris. This is what happens in a State controlled health service. The parents appealed to the European Union’s High Court, and the decision of the UK Court AND the National Health Service was upheld. Considering what is happening in the Netherlands – their open and almost gleeful embrace of euthanasia, assisted suicide – the EU Court siding with Britain’s NHS is no surprise. Read another WSJ article, “In the Netherlands, the Doctor Will Kill You Now” by Kees van der Staaij.

And that is what set us off, the presumption by the State, for the NHS is nothing but an arm of the state, that it owned little Charlie and that his parents should sit down and shut up, because he was too far gone to live. Probably by the time we got involved he actually was, but that is because the NHS stalled since January. Was that true then? I don’t know, but it’s a troubling question. And that is also why, when the parents said enough is enough, it’s too late, we all simply offered our sympathy, it was their call, with medical advice they trusted, to make. Not the hospital’s cost driven choice. That the hospital felt the need to continue abusing them is unfortunate but unsurprising.  It strikes many of us as a return to pre-Christian paganism, where unwanted children were simply left to die of exposure. Same thing, but hidden in buildings, and by unformed consciences.

And, if we are honest, for whatever cause, that is the difference between America and Europe, including the UK. Americans are, by training and instinct, distrustful of, and suspicious of, anything connected with the government, with overwhelming cause, going back to not only George III, but to the Stuarts, whose views on religion caused a good many of our founders, the Dissenters, to come here, to found that “cittie on the hille” that has come to symbolize so much of America to the world. Only an American would have said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” And I suspect only Americans understand just how terrifying those words can and should, be.

Daily, thousands of life and death decisions are made in a family regarding life support issues for a loved one. It’s made between the physician, family members, and the patients themselves if they are able to participate. I don’t need to go into the medical details of these types of situations; suffice it to say, it happens, but it is in the hands of the patient, family and physician. Not the State.

The Affordable Care Act had a hidden nugget, outed by Sarah Palin, known as “Death Panels.” This is a fact, and as long as the ACA remains on the books, a non-medical bureaucrat is going to make a decision on whether one gets treatment and lives or gets a pill for pain, and simply dies. Barack Obama once gave the ludicrous example of a 90 year old woman needing a pacemaker…a woman who was alert, functioning and enjoying life, he said maybe they “should just give her a pill (not sure if it was ‘red’ or ‘blue’) for pain instead of a pacemaker…” I’m in the medical field, pacemakers are an everyday, reasonable option. Millions of people have them – rare for a person not to be able to get one. But in Obama’s worldview, and others who think like him, a 90 year grandmother has no meaning or relevancy to society. That’s where he is not only wrong, but it shows the moral decline of a society. It’s our humanity and respect for life – imperfect as it is – which keeps us on a moral path. Once we lose that compass, we lose everything else.

And that is why, beyond our moral revulsion at the actions of the NHS, which is very real, the whole issue is very important to Americans. And there is this.

The Charlie Gards of the world are important, just as the Down Syndrome infants are, or the disabled or the elderly – it keeps our humanity, our Soul. If we deliberately kill – when alternative resources or experimental treatments are available, we’re on our way to the same kind of thinking and mindset which engulfed the Third Reich. No difference.

Update: I want to add two perceptive remarks from the comment thread.

1) Kenny Solomon used the phrase: “genocidal theocracy” – which brings to mind the abortion industry and their rabid supporters.

2) Vassar Bushmills noted: “Never forget, that murder by indifference is the greatest sin before God.

Emphasis mine and a huge tip of the Stetson to PUMABydesign001.

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Good bye and Farewell, Charlie

Well, I said this a while ago, too much time was wasted for Charlie Gard to survive his illness. The NHS has run out the clock, to the point where his parents have made the decision that they must let go. His dad, Chris Gard made a heartbreaking statement:

“Firstly, I would like to thank our legal team who have worked tirelessly on our behalf for free. And to the nurses and staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital who have cared for Charlie and kept him comfortable and stable for so long.

We would also like to thank everybody who supported us, including all the people here for us today.

This is one of the hardest things that we will ever have to say and we are about to do the hardest thing that we’ll ever have to do, which is to let our beautiful little Charlie go.

Put simply, this is about a sweet, gorgeous innocent little boy who was born with a rare disease who had a real genuine chance at life and a family who loved him so very dearly. And that’s why we fought so hard for him.

We are truly devastated to say that following the most recent MRI scan of Charlie’s muscles as requested in a recent MDT meeting by Dr Hirano.

As Charlie’s devoted and loving parents, we’ve decided that it is no longer in Charlie’s best interest to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels.

The American and Italian team were still willing to treat Charlie after seeing his recent MRI and EEG perform last week, but there is one simple reason why treatment cannot now go ahead and that is time. A whole lot of time has been wasted.

We are now in July and our poor boy has been left to just lie in hospital for months without any treatment whilst lengthy court battles have been fought.

Tragically having had Charlie’s medical notes reviewed by independent experts, we now know had Charlie been given the treatment sooner, he would have had the potential to be a normal healthy little boy.

Despite his condition in January, Charlie’s muscles were in pretty good shape and far from showing irreversible catastrophic structural brain damage.

Dr Hirano and other experts say his brain scans and EEGs were those of a relatively normal child of his age.

We knew that ourselves because as his parents, we knew our son, which is why we continued fighting.

Charlie’s been left for his illness to deteriorate devastatingly to the point of no return.

This has also never been about ‘parents know best’.

All we wanted to do was take Charlie from one world-renowned hospital to another world-renowned hospital in the attempt to save his life and to be treated by the world leader in mitochondrial disease.

We’ll have to live with the what-ifs which will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

Despite the way that our beautiful son has been spoken about sometimes, as if he is not worthy of a chance at life, our son is an absolute warrior and we could not be prouder of him and we will miss him terribly.

His body, heart and soul may soon be gone, but his spirit will live on for eternity and he will make a difference to people’s lives for years to come. We will make sure of that.

We are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie who unfortunately won’t make his first birthday in just under two weeks’ time.

And we will ask that our privacy is respected during this very difficult time.

To Charlie we say mummy and daddy, we love you so much. We always have and we always will and we are so sorry we couldn’t save you.

Sweet dreams baby, sleep tight our beautiful little boy. We love you.”

Courtesy of The Independent

Given what we know, while this has to be a heartbreaking decision for Charlie’s parents, I’m quite sure that it is also the correct one. God give them strength.

Well, we all did our best, and we have lost a battle, there will be more, and we need to move faster. We too were late to his aid, and the dilatory nature of the NHS, along with its near-religious status in the UK, and it’s stubborn clinging to power made this an uphill battle. And that is the real lesson here, and it’s important to remember even as we mourn that little warrior in London. If we don’t fight it all the time, every time, the culture of death that the NHS represents will win. But we, British and Americans, with an assist from the Pope, came close. If we had been even three months earlier, we might have prevailed.

And that is what I simply cannot understand, the religious fervor of the Brits for this Stalinist health (non)care system. No matter what you say about it, your answer will be, “But it’s free.” Which it decidedly is not. Nor is this anything new. Back in 2013 Jessica and I both wrote about the Stafford scandal in which something up to 1200 patients were allowed to live in filth and die unattended. Those articles are here, and here. They were based on an article in The Telegraph, which is here. So what happened? Nothing, of course, the latest story in Google is from February of 2013, three days after our articles were published.

Nothing will change because of Charlie Gard either. Why? Because while Americans were outraged over the whole thing of stealing this baby from his parents and allowing him to die, the British for the most part shrugged and said, “It’s free.” Maybe they haven’t heard it ain’t free they pay at least $1500 each per year for this shoddy simulacrum of health care.

As I said then, “That’s the thing about government bureaucracies though, no one is responsible.” That’s often the point of a bureaucracy, as we have surely seen in the last few years. Jeff Weimer commenting on this story yesterday at Ace‘s said this:

Once again, socialized medicine gets the preferred health outcome it was looking for.

You are not – I repeat – you are *not* the customer in a socialized single payer system. You are a *cost*. the government is the customer and it gets what it pays for.

Always.

And that is the simple truth. So is this from the same comment stream:

For me, nothing has been so infuriating in all this as reading feedback from the British public. Usually, the comments section at sites like Daily Mail is fairly right-leaning, but even there, when it came to poor Charlie, the parents were being absolutely excoriated for fighting the hospital, which apparently, in the eyes of their fellow Brits, is run by the most intelligent, compassionate people on Earth. Charlie’s parents, it was said over and over again, ought to “do the right thing” and let their son die already.

I shouldn’t blame them too much. It is only too clear that this attitude is the result of decades under a welfare state and the mind-warping that induces. But it is hard to come away with any conclusion except that the UK is now home to millions of soulless automatons who would rather the innocent perish than lose their own entitlements. Damn them all.

Goodbye, Charlie, we tried our best, and we failed. May God help your parents find some peace.

All three of you will be in many prayers.

 

Charlie Gard, Green Cards, Right to Life, and Ownership

Sometimes a story just reaches out and grabs you, and won’t let go. For me, Charlie Gard is that story. I’m convinced that eventually, the NHS will kill him, it’s not like it will be novel for them or anything. But in the meantime, I, like so many others, including the US Congress, the President of the United States, The US Right to Life movement, The British Right to Life movement, most Christians, and the Pope, one does what one can.

The biggest problem, I suspect is that the NHS when it made it the cold conclusion that this child must die, assumed that his parents were simply sheeple that would do what they were told to do. Well, they’re not, they are thinking, feeling people, who love their son, and are willing to fight all comers for what they think is right for him. They may be wrong in their assessment. They assuredly are not wrong in their determination. I and many others honor them for it.

In any case, this happened.

Does it matter that Charlie and his parents are now legal residents of the United States? Probably not really. That’s what this is, it is the coveted American Green Card, awarded by special act of the US Congress, carrying with it all the rights guaranteed an American, including the Right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. It’s the right thing to do, but probably non-effectual. There is only one more thing Congress could do, declare Charlie an honorary citizen of the United States. In this context, it has been done only once, to attempt to prevent the Soviets from killing Raoul Wallenberg. He was so designated because of his work in saving tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis in Budapest as the Swedish Special Envoy. Apparently, he was killed at the Lubyanka in 1947.

What we have here is simply a pissing match, the NHS, and the British and European courts vs the decent people of the world. The NHS will likely win the match, but they have done themselves much damage, in their cold, unblinking desire to kill this baby, no matter what anybody thinks.

For a good many American readers, I suspect they have also killed Obamacare for good, if the Congress can’t get its thumb out, then Congress will change. I think we’ve had enough, and enough of us remember Sarah Palin’s remarks on ‘Death Panels’ to recognize one when we see one. And we don’t like what we see.

The American doctor has examined Charlie, and thinks improvement may be possible, and so argued, for five hours in concert with the doctor from the Vatican’s Childrens’ Hospital. The NHS was reportedly unmoved.

Ted Noel, MD writing at American Thinker has done the best job of explaining the difference between the systems in play here.

[…]And because these medical circumstances were not rare, I helped write my hospital’s policy on Futility of Care.  But Charlie Gard’s case is different from the ones I was involved with.

When Charlie Gard entered Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, England’s single-payer health system, the National Health Service, took over.  At first, it seemed that this was a good thing, since his parents didn’t have to pay extra for his care.  But they didn’t have a choice.  They weren’t in the small minority who are either wealthy enough or favorably employed to access private insurance.  So Charlie was swallowed by the Blob.

Thus far, there didn’t seem to be any difference between single-payer and private insurance.  Both start with the same level of medical care. But shortly, the differences became manifest.  When Charlie’s rare diagnosis became clear (only 16 known cases), the NHS refused to allow any sort of alternative approach.  Charlie had struck the iceberg, and the Carpathia was nowhere to be seen.

After first contact with a doctor who might be able to help, Charlie’s parents set up a crowdfunding page and raised £1.3 million (about $1.7 million).  That’s enough for any conceivable therapy.  They had become financially able to relieve the NHS of any need to care for Charlie.  All the NHS had to do was say, “Yes.”  Instead, the NHS asserted its ownership of Charlie, and multiple courts agreed.  The hospital got court orders to discontinue life support.

What would have happened in the U.S.?  When there is no reasonable probability of returning a critically ill patient to meaningful life, the situation is to be presented to the patient’s health care surrogate.  This “Legally Authorized Person” is encouraged to recognize that further care is futile and should not be undertaken.  With the LAP’s consent, it would become possible to withdraw futile care.

It is critically important to note that the LAP (typically close family) has the authority to tell the medical staff to continue care or not.  It is not up to the doctors or the hospital.  It does not matter that continuing futile care burns out staff and consumes resources.  The family is the final authority, because the family members are the ones who own all rights in this situation.  It would be unethical to proceed without their consent, because they are protecting the patient’s natural human rights, even if they conflict with the medical prognosis.

I know that speaking in terms of “ownership” sounds strange coming from a doctor.  But this is the key fact, based in natural law.  Charlie Gard’s parents “own” him.  They begot him.  They cared for him.  And when he became ill, they cared even more for him by seeking expert assistance.  They are primarily responsible for Charlie.  But single-payer NHS changes everything.

When Charlie Gard came through that Emergency Department door, the NHS took ownership of him.  It’s a classic case of the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”  (Apologies to Saint Matthew.)  In essence, the NHS said that since it is paying the freight, Charlie is now the property of the State.  His parents were involuntarily dispossessed of their son.  The NHS stole him by force of law.  Parental rights inherent in natural law were “stripped away by strangers.”

That’s all of it that I can give you (and probably more than I should, sorry Dr. Noel) but this is important stuff, so read the entire article.

You know, a long time ago, a dead white guy, a Greek, wrote an oath that supposedly doctors still abide by. His name was Hippocrates. In it, he stated that above all,

“First, do no harm”

Charlie Gard: The Saga Continues

Time to speak again about Charlie Gard, that brain damaged British child whom the British health care system thinks needs to die, against his parents’ wishes, and in the face of possible treatment. We’ve spoken of this before, here, here, and here. The hearing has happened, and his parents left appearing rather distraught.

No surprise there. From the Catholic Herald.

They said that Judge Nicholas Francis had misquoted their earlier statements

The parents of a baby with a rare disease stormed out of a London court hearing in an emotional outburst Thursday, as the couple tried to convince a judge to let them take their critically ill child to the United States for medical treatment.

Charlie Gard’s parents are challenging the view of the Great Ormond Street Hospital, arguing that treatment abroad is in the best interest of the 11-month-old suffering from a rare genetic condition.

A succession of judges has backed specialists at the hospital who argue experimental treatment in America won’t help and may cause suffering for Charlie. The parents hoped to present fresh evidence to alter that view.

Two hours into the High Court hearing, questions from Judge Nicholas Francis prompted tensions to boil over. Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, accused Francis of misquoting her earlier statements about Charlie’s quality of life.

In other words, they think they are being railroaded, and it’s quite likely they are. Catholicism Pure and Simple adds this.

The case of 11-month old Charlie Gard is bringing out the worst in the “Death with Dignity Movement.” By appointing Victoria Butler-Cole, a death with dignity advocate, as the lawyer representing Charlie in court against his parents, the death with dignity movement has crossed the line from advocating for individuals’ wishes to projecting its views onto innocent children who are too young to have indicated that “death with dignity” is something they want.

Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old living in the UK, has an extremely rare mitochondrial disorder. An experimental treatment exists that has a chance—although a small chance—at recovering his muscle function and allowing him to have a happy life. His parents will be in court Thursday asking the court to allow him to receive this experimental treatment. His hospital and others argue that the treatment is too experimental—that it has only been tested in a lab—but the same hospital has used equally-experimental treatment before.

From the CH article:

“Unlike the US, English law is focused on the protection of children’s rights,” said Jonathan Montgomery, professor of health care law at University College London. “The US is the only country in the world that is not party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; it does not recognise that children have rights independent of their parents.”

Yeah, and maybe there is a reason the United States hasn’t signed on to that convention. It avoids having the state appoint a pro death attorney to oppose the parents’ wishes.

Look, none of us, most especially those of us without expertise, and full knowledge have a complete understanding here. It’s quite possible that, objectively, it would be better for the parents to let him go. But you know, it’s not my decision, it’s not your decision, most assuredly it is none of the state’s business, especially a state like the UK that encourages mothers to commit abortion for almost no reason at all. It is, as it has always been, the parents’ responsibility. And they want to continue treatment.

In an article on The Conservative Woman yesterday about this matter, a friend of mine commented.

A source close to the parents told The Daily Telegraph: “The family find it astonishing that the quango that appointed the barrister to act in the interests of Charlie Gard is the chairman of Compassion in Dying, the sister body of Dignity in Dying, formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. The implication is obvious. It looks like a profound conflict of interest.”

This is part of a comment I made on that same article. I can’t improve on what I said there.

But the real point here is this. Whose child is it? Is he the parent’s child? Or is he the property of the state? That is the real determination to be made. If he belongs to his parent’s, they have a right to have him treated, at their own expense. If he is the property of the state, it has the right to deprive him of his life. It’s a very simple question, really, and a very serious one, for us all. Because it applies to us all.

Culture of Death, indeed.

Do also understand that in large measure, this case has been driven by the American right-to-life groups, who have done so much to point out the horrors of abortion as well. The British groups are getting on board, especially the truly conservative groups and Catholic ones, but the support for these parents has come overwhelmingly from the States. It is still another mainfestation of the healthy distrust of government that Americans feel, something our British cousins largely lack, to their detriment. They are learning, Brexit was a sign of that, but it will take time. Time Magazine, of all places, said this:

The twist in the legal case comes as a movement to bring Charlie to the U.S. has become an international campaign, bolstered by the involvement of conservative groups from the United States led by Catholics and evangelicals . Major attention on the case first picked up outside the U.K. when Pope Francis said in a Vatican statement that he was following the case “with affection and sadness” and prayed that Charlie’s parents’ “wish to accompany and treat their child until the end isn’t neglected.”

The following day President Donald Trump tweeted to his 33.7 million followers that he would be “delighted” to help Charlie, and the saga reached an entirely new audience. Suddenly, the case of Charlie Gard was being discussed in churches and by socially conservative groups across the U.S. On July 6, the Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, Concerned Women of America and Americans United for Life — all socially conservative groups active in opposition to abortion — held a joint press conference in Washington D.C., where they announced the launch of a campaign to ‘Save Charlie Gard,’ including a petition and a “social media push” to raise awareness and support for Charlie and his parents.

“Who do we think we are [to] decide who gets to live and who doesn’t, whose life is valuable and whose is not?” Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, told attendees during the event. “This is way above our pay grade. This is a matter for God.”

And so it is.

 

Charlie Gard: an Update

Charlie Gard, who was born in England with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, is pictured in this undated family photo. The baby’s parent, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have lost their legal battle to keep Charlie on life-support and seek treatment for his rare condition in the United States. (CNS photo/family handout, courtesy Featureworld) See ACADEMY-BABY-LIFE-SUPPORT June 29, 2017.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the interlude, of our traditional 4th of July posts. One of those times that there is little new to say, and I was pretty happy with the way I said it before.

The last few days, we have been celebrating these words, above all others,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Apparently, the British, after all these years, still don’t agree.

There is was an update the other day from the Catholic Herald on the status of Charlie Gard. Charlie, you’ll likely remember, is the infant in London with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, for which there is an experimental treatment in the United States (risky, but he has little to lose) and for which his parents have raised $1.3 million dollars with a go fund me. When they asked Great Ormond Street Hospital they were refused permission to take him to America, and so they sued all the way through the British courts and on to the European Court of Human Rights. All of which said no.

Here’s the start of that update.

Terminally ill Charlie Gard cannot be transferred to the Vatican’s children’s hospital for treatment, foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said.

Mr Johnson told his Italian counterpart, Angelino Alfano, legal reasons prevented Charlie being moved out of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The president of the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù hospital had offered to take Charlie into their care after the European Court of Human Rights ruled doctors had the right to turn off his life support.

The BBC reports Mr Johnson said it was “right that decisions continued to be led by expert medical opinion, supported by the courts”.

The Prime Minister added some pabalum to the mix. The British government appears to be bound and determined to make sure this baby dies. I hope they enjoy explaining themselves to the one true Judge. Hell of a note for a Vicar’s daughter to take this stand.

But all is not quite lost yet.

And there is this.

 

What the whole sickening thing says to me is that in Britain like the rest of Europe, you, even if you’re a helpless baby, whose parents have found some possible help for, remain the property of the state, to be judicially murdered if it suits them.

Indeed we are!

One thing I love about the US Pro-Life movement is that it completely understands that the right to life is damned well the right to life, you may lose it through no fault of your own, or disease, or even because of something you did, but no one: no individual, no group, and no government has the right to take it, especially without your permission, or if you’re a child your parents.

We used to have a different word for that situation – it is called slavery.

Royston Allen wrote a poem called Freedom, it applies here

Freedom to give
Freedom to live
Freedom to question why

Freedom to walk
Freedom to talk
Freedom to live or to die […]

Freedom that’s mine
Freedom divine
Freedom no money can buy

#CHARLIEGARD #ISTANDWHITCHARLIEGARD

I note that as I write this, there are rumors circulating of a couple things connected with this, if they prove true, I will update.

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