Doctors can withdraw life support from a sick baby with a rare genetic condition against his parents’ wishes, a High Court judge has ruled. Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital said eight-month-old Charlie Gard has irreversible brain damage and should be moved to palliative care. His parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard, from London, had wanted to take him to the US for a treatment trial. They said they were “devastated” by the decision but intended to appeal. Their solicitor, Laura Hobey-Hamsher, said they could not understand why Mr Justice Francis had not “at least given Charlie the chance of treatment”. Hospital bosses said they would continue to provide life-support treatment until a decision about an appeal had been made. In his judgement, Mr Justice Francis said he made the decision with the “heaviest of hearts” but with “complete conviction” that it was in the best interests of the child. He paid tribute to Charlie’s parents for “their brave and dignified campaign on his behalf” and “their absolute dedication to their wonderful boy, from the day that he was born”. The judge, who had visited Charlie in hospital, added: “I know this is the darkest day for Charlie’s parents…my heart goes out to them. “I only hope in time they will come to accept it is in Charlie’s best interests to let him slip away peacefully, and not put him through more pain and suffering.”

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