Charlie Gard's parents 'extremely upset' by public backlash
The parents of Charlie Gard say they have been victims of a "backlash" after Great Ormond Street Hospital revealed staff had received death threats. Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life's work is to care for sick children.
The hospital is in close contact with the Metropolitan Police over the incidents, she added in a statement.
Charlie suffers from a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome that causes progressive muscle weakness and has left him with brain damage and unable to breathe without a ventilator.
Charlie's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard have fought a high-profile legal battle against GOSH to have their son, who was born on 4 August 2016, flown to America to receive the highly experimental nucleoside treatment.
But the case was reopened earlier this month at England's High Court after two overseas hospitals approached GOSH with possible evidence of alternative treatments that might help Charlie's condition.
Ms MacLeod said: "Families have been harassed and discomforted while visiting their children, and we have received complaints of unacceptable behaviour even within the hospital itself".
"The GOSH community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance". Last week, an American doctor flew to London to evaluate Charlie Gard in the hopes of convincing the courts (if not his doctors) that the 11-month-old could potentially benefit from such treatment.
Staff have received abuse in the street as well as via online messages.
Mary MacLeod, chairman of the hospital, said in a statement: "Charlie Gard's case is a heart-breaking one".
Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump expressed an interest in Charlie's fate, and the hospital asked for a new court hearing because of what the family claimed was new medical evidence.
Doctors at GOSH have said there is no realistic prospect of improvement and Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity. The parents said at the hearing it was the first time they were being told about the latest results in the crucial test of Charlie's brain function, according to the AP.
Mr Justice Francis has considered the latest stage of the case at public hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
Dr. Michio Hirano, the medical director of the Laboratory of Metabolic and Mitochondrial Disease in NY who flew to the United Kingdom to assess Charlie, argued last week that his experimental drugs still had a chance of helping the boy.