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July 21, 2017

The Right to Live

Harry M. Covert

The case of 11-month old Charlie Gard is something to seriously consider when the subject of right-to-die, legal assisted suicide or euthanasia is in discussion or debate.


It is heartbreaking when a baby – or adult – is caught up in a battle between parents, medical professionals and the courts.


Charlie Gard's situation is dire. He was born in England with a rare genetic condition described as mitochondrial depletion syndrome.


British doctors say the condition is irreversible. The infant is being kept on life support in London's Great Ormandy Street Hospital. The hospital wants to remove life support so he can "die with dignity."


Charlie's parents are begging the court to allow him to be transferred to the United States where physicians in numerous hospitals say they may be able to help him recover. The medical pros know this is a chance with extremely high odds of failure.


But, and this is a major prospect, miracles do happen and with modern medical marvels, why not a chance for Charlie?


The British court has a tough decision to make without question. The parents have raised $2 million, President Donald Trump has offered to fly Charlie to the U.S. on his private plane, not Air Force One, and the Congress has granted special permanent residency for Charlie and his parents. This will allow experimental treatment.


Why not? If there is the slightest chance for this baby, a human being, let's do it.


Parents worldwide, especially those with special needs children, are watching the developments. Miracles do happen.


Efforts to legalize assisted suicide for terminally ill people have gained great interest in recent years. In 2016 a Maryland Senate bill was withdrawn by Frederick State Sen. Ron Young when he couldn't obtain enough support.


Undoubtedly interest in a form of euthanasia will still arise.


Back to the Charlie Gard discussion and how this affects others – because it will. There are many public hospitals where terminally ill babies and others are housed. Thankfully, the medical professionals are always looking for ways to ease the suffering.


People of good will everywhere can invite with open arms little Charlie and his parents to the U.S. If just one human being can be helped by modern medical technology, let's do it.


I invite everyone to learn more about mitochondrial depletion syndrome. It’s all over Google. It's a difficult subject to discuss in a few sentences.


My heart aches for little Charlie. My heart hurts daily for special needs children and adults.


Advances in modern medicine are spectacular. Just maybe doctors will find that one thing to help. I believe it can and will happen.


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