Op-ed: What we can learn from Charlie Gard's case

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Op-ed: What we can learn from Charlie Gard's case

August 11, 2017

Charlie Gard’s medical case ignited public debate about what should happen when hospitals and courts disagree with families about what is best for a child. Charlie, 11 months, died July 28 of infantile-onset mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a rare progressive condition that left him unable to breathe or move on his own.

We think the hospital should have honored Charlie’s parents’ initial wish to explore experimental treatment options and accommodated their desire to take him home to die. Allowing the parents to feel that they had exhausted their options, instead of escalating the boy’s case to a court, likely would have led to a better outcome.

Three UW Medicine pediatric ethicists, Seema Shah, Doug Diekema, and Abby Rosenberg, weigh in on this issue.