Connie Yates and Chris Gard say they have suffered ‘the most hurtful comments from the public’
Connie Yates and Chris Gard say they have suffered “the most hurtful comments from the public” in their fight to save their son’s life.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates say they are “extremely upset by the backlash” they experienced after it was revealed hospital staff had received death threats
Charlie Gard is on a life support machine at Great Ormond Street Hospital where staff say he should begin palliative care
The couple are in the middle of another High Court battle with the hospital to take their 11-month-old son to America for experimental treatment, but doctors want to take him off his life support machine.
GOSH said yesterday that say emotions are running so high in the high-profile case they have received death threats.
In response, Miss Yates said in a statement: “We are extremely upset by the backlash we’ve received after Great Ormond Street Hospital put out their statement last night.
“We do not and have not ever condoned any threatening or abusive remarks towards any staff member at Gosh.
“We too have suffered from the most hurtful comments from the public and Gosh is aware of this too.
“We would have appreciated it if when they put out their statement they had asked the public not to say anything hurtful to us as well as their doctors and other members of staff.
“Chris and I are just ordinary parents with a very sick baby and we simply have his best interests at heart.”
They added: “Despite conflicting issues, we have always had the utmost respect for all the staff who work tirelessly at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the very difficult jobs they do every day.
“And, like them, we have been shocked by some of the public response to this case and agree with them that it is disgraceful that doctors have received death threats.”
Her partner Chris Gard added: “We say it again – we are very grateful to the staff for the care of our son. Without the excellent care of the doctors at GOSH our son would not even be alive and not a day goes by when we don’t remember that.
“We also know what a devastating place this can be for upset and anxious parents and we are constantly mindful that they have enough on their plate without hearing about our problems too.”
Their official spokesperson Alison Smith-Squire said: “Chris and Connie are sweet, loving parents who’ve found themselves in a nightmare and who have worked tirelessly with doctors at gosh to try to mediate for a resolution.
“People might not agree with them but as Charlie’s parents they have simply been doing the best they can for their son. Charlie is their first and only child whom they love so dearly.
Great Ormond Street Hospital said some of its staff had received death threats after the high-profile case
Hospital staff claim they have received ‘shocking’ levels of abuse
Great Ormond Street Hospital says it's been in contact with police over 'death threats' over Charlie Gard case
“As well as being forced to fight through the courts for their son’s life, Charlie’s desperate parents have come in for shameful, disgraceful and hurtful criticism from some who have left the most shocking comments on stories, accusing them of ‘enjoying the publicity’, not being loving parents because they do not want their child to die and for not facing up to the ‘truth’ of his diagnosis.”
She added: “The truth is Charlie could be your son or grandson. Charlie also has an extended loving family of grandparents, aunts and uncles – all of whom have been terribly upset by some unnecessary and spiteful comments about Connie and Chris.
“At the same time Gosh is undoubtedly a remarkable establishment and we are all proud of its world-renowned reputation. It is one of our finest hospitals and equally does not deserve any abuse for doing what it feels is in the best interests of a patient.
“Of course people have differing opinions and this heartbreaking case provokes strong views. But it is time everyone refrains from making threats and nasty remarks to either the family or the hospital.”
Hospital chairwoman Mary MacLeod said the police have been contacted because of numerous threats received by the hospital’s employees in the case.
“Staff have received abuse both in the street and online,” she said.
“Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life’s work is to care for sick children. Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats.”
MacLeod said families visiting other ill children have also been “harassed and discomforted” on the grounds of the renowned hospital in London.
Protesters who want the tot to receive an experimental medical treatment are planning a rally and prayer vigil outside the High Court, where legal proceedings will continue tomorrow.
His parents are now considering their next steps ahead of the latest hearing in a five-month legal battle over whether the terminally-ill baby should be treated by a specialist in America.
A judge had been scheduled to analyse evidence at a two-day trial starting at 10am on Monday.
Mr Justice Francis had said he aimed to make a decision on Tuesday – and had questioned whether a two-day hearing would be long enough.
Great Ormond Street doctors say little Charlie Gard should be allowed to die in dignity
Charlie Gard's parents have been locked in a legal battle with the hospital as they fight for their son's life
But the hearing has now been re-listed and is scheduled to start at 2pm on Monday.
Lawyers have given no explanation for the scheduling change.
On Friday a barrister representing GOSH doctors caring for the youngster told Mr Gard and Miss Yates that a report on the latest scan made for “sad reading”.
Ms Yates burst into tears when Katie Gollop QC broke the news at a preliminary hearing in the Family Division of the High Court on Friday.
Mr Justice Francis asked Ms Gollop not to reveal full detail of the report – the judge indicated that Charlie’s parents should be given time to consider it privately.
Last week the American specialist, Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, travelled to London to examine Charlie for the first time and discuss the case with Great Ormond Street doctors.
Lawyers had told the judge that they would analyse reports from the gathering over the weekend.
Mr Justice Francis has considered the latest stage of the case at public hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
Mr Gard and Ms Yates have asked judges to rule that Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial in New York.
Doctors at Great Ormond Street say the therapy is experimental and will not help.
They say life support treatment should stop.
Charlie’s parents, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, have already lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London.
They have also failed to persuade European Court of Human Rights judges to intervene.
But the couple say there is new evidence and had asked Mr Justice Francis, who in April ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity, to change his mind.
Mr Justice Francis said he would not re-run the case but would consider any ”new material”.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368