A British judge has said the parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard can present new evidence at upcoming hearings to determine his fate.
Judge Nicholas Francis, who has overseen the latest round of hearings in the case at London’s High Court, said Friday that parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates could present evidence in full-day hearings early next week.
He said the evidence must be new and relevant to the case.
The 11-month-old’s parents have been engaged in a legal battle to give Charlie, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome and cannot breathe unaided, an experimental treatment.
They believe the treatment, which has never been tested on a human with Charlie’s exact condition, could restore his muscular and brain functions.
Previous courts, including the European Court of Human Rights, have sided with Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is currently being treated. The hospital said the treatment would cause suffering and would not help, suggesting that life-support to the baby should stop.
The hospital believes Charlie has suffered irreversible brain damage that treatment cannot repair. His parents disagree.
Earlier this week, Charlie underwent brain scans in an attempt to determine whether his brain damage is irreversible. Judge Francis said that results from one scan were not available.
Meetings were also held this week with Charlie’s mother, doctors treating Charlie at Great Ormond Street Hospital and American specialist Dr. Michio Hirano.
Hirano, an American neurology expert from Columbia Medical Center in New York, designed the experimental treatment. He will also be allowed to present more evidence at Monday’s hearing.
It’s not clear how much longer Charlie would live without the treatment.