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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