A clinician who treated Charlie Gard has said the baby’s last days were turned into a “soap opera” with him being kept alive for people such as Donald Trump and the Pope.
Writing anonymously for The Guardian, the medic said they were part of the team of 200 nurses, doctors and consultants who cared for the terminally ill boy in intensive care, the Press Association reports.
The 11-month-old was at the centre of a legal battle between his parents, who wanted to take their son to the US for experimental treatment, and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) that attracted worldwide attention.
His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, said they wanted to take their son across the Atlantic for nucleoside bypass therapy, but specialists at GOSH in London, where Charlie was being cared for, said the treatment was experimental and would not help.
Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, had a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
He died in a hospice on July 28, just days before his first birthday.
The clinician wrote: “Like all of the staff who work in our unit, I loved this child to bits.
“But it got to the point where there was nothing more we could do.”
The clinician said they did not want to lose Charlie, but that it was their job and “moral obligation” to speak up and say when they think “enough is enough”.
The health worker wrote: “We gave him drugs and fluids, we did everything that we could, even though we thought he should be allowed to slip away in his parents’ arms, peacefully, loved.
“We didn’t do this for Charlie. We didn’t even do it for his mum and dad.
“Recently, we did this for Donald Trump, the Pope and Boris Johnson, who suddenly knew more about mitochondrial diseases than our expert consultants.
“And we did it for the keyboard warriors who thought it was OK to write about the ‘evil’ medical staff at Great Ormond Street, even though we were still there next to Charlie, caring for him as best we could, as we always had.”
Trump intervened in case via Twitter in early July, saying American doctors would be “delighted” to help the little boy if they could.
The Pope intervened, with the Vatican saying on his behalf: “He prays that [Charlie Gard’s parents’] wish to accompany and treat their child until the end isn’t neglected.”
“Over the last few weeks, parts of the media and some members of the public turned a poorly baby’s life into a soap opera, into a hot legal issue being discussed around the world,” wrote the medic.
They added that GOSH staff had been called “evil” by “keyboard warriors” and that friends had asked why they were trying to kill Charlie.
The case had also made other parents at the hospital “nervous” about whether the right thing was being done for their children, the health worker explained.
They said it was highly unusual, but that months of concern and frustration had taken a toll on staff.