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Rome Reports

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The difficult ethical debate following Charlie Gard's story

Is it euthanasia or therapeutic cruelty? The story of Charlie Gard continues to raise dilemmas that for many, seem nearly impossible to solve. 

For doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, leaving Charlie connected to the machines keeping him alive is unnecessarily prolonging the baby's pain. 

Charlie's parents, on the other hand, are open to trying every possibility of sparing his life. Their plan is to take him to the United States for experimental therapy, despite a very low success rate. 


Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum

"What we really have to look for, the shining star that must guide us, is the true well-being of the child. Parents are supposed to seek the child's well-being, but we also know that sometimes people who are not familiar with medicine, and are very emotionally involved, may not have enough distance to understand that maybe it is best for the child to suspend the therapies.”

Are parents too involved from an emotional point of view, or are doctors predisposed to an ideology of pro-euthanasia. 

The rector of the School of Bioethics from Regina Apostolorum in Rome says that it is very difficult to assess who is right in this situation. 


Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum

"What I always say about this case is that I do not have enough information to make a judgment. I'm not going to say 'it's therapeutic cruelty, or that he should continue with treatment.' Doctors came to the conclusion of what they believed to be the best decision for the child. I hope the decision was made for that reason, and not because they want to promote an ideology of pro-euthanasia... I hope that if they have made this decision it's because they think is the best for him.”

Charlie Gard suffers from an incurable genetic disease. His case and all the surrounding elements has pulled at emotional heartstrings around the world, provoking reactions from world leaders such as Pope Francis and Donald Trump.

He has not only brought debate about euthanasia to the table, but he has also sparked other questions, as to whom should decide on the life and future of the child: doctors or parents.