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Letter: Parents have a right to help their ill child

Parents have a right to help their ill child

I cried when I saw the story of Charlie Gard, the English baby born with mitochondrial depletion syndrome. Charlie was born normal, then this deathly syndrome swiped in to create his fate. After a diagnosis of brain damage, blindness and no cure, his parents want to bring Charlie to the United States for an experimental treatment to possibly give him a chance of surviving. The parents have been denied by Charlie’s medical team and English government, and the case is now in court.

My son was born normal like Charlie and was diagnosed with a rare heart defect that required immediate open heart surgery at the age of 4 months. He had a cardiac arrest after with a 90-minute lack of oxygen waiting for hookup to the heart/lung bypass machine. Like Charlie, my son was brain damaged, legally blind, unable to walk or talk. “No” was not in my vocabulary when it came to pursuing treatment, to try to provide a quality of life that he was entitled to. Many doctors tried to talk me out of seeking other means.

Charlie’s parents should know that their son has no normal future and be satisfied with that, because he is still alive. Doctors have “M.D.” after their names, not “God,” so I persevered. Many times my efforts were discouraged but I came to know that no one has the right to steal anyone’s hope.

My heart aches for Charlie’s parents, the pain I know too well. They should have every right to try every opportunity to give Charlie more time and possibly a better quality of life. When the time comes for our Lord to take Charlie home, as he did with my son, Charlie’s parents will be able to put their heads down on their pillows every night knowing they gave him every opportunity to survive. I was blessed to have my son for 15 years and I pray the Gards are blessed to have Charlie for 15-plus years. God bless them all.

Mary Lynn Gallagher


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