Last Friday, eleven-month-old Charlie Gard passed away from a rare genetic disorder after the U.K. courts denied his access to a potential life extending alternative treatment. Against the wishes of Gard’s parents, the Judges ruled that Gard was too ill to be cured and should not receive alternative treatment. These actions provide insight into the workings of socialized medicine and the consequences that “free” healthcare entail.
Charlie Gard passed away just one week short of his first birthday after being diagnosed with the rare disease mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDS). The U.K.’s socialized medical system significantly reduced Gard’s chances at an increased life expectancy. Gard was held at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London (GOSH), where doctors determined that the baby was too ill to recover and recommended terminating life support, as reported by Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill. Gard’s parents, however, raised over $1.5 million to treat their baby through an experimental therapy offered by a doctor in the U.S. GOSH denied the parents’ the ability to seek out the alternative treatment for their baby, claiming that it went against the best interest of the child.
According to the American Society for Experimental Neuro Therapeutics, MDS is a genetic condition characterized by impaired energy production in tissues and organs. MDS arises from defects in mitochondrial nucleotide synthesis, meaning that the disease causes disordered maintenance of the building blocks of DNA. Gard’s MDS was caused by a mutation in the RRM2B gene, which codes the production of DNA building blocks. RRM2B gene mutations leading to MDS mainly impact the brain and kidneys and typically cause death within a few months.
According to Scientific American, Gard’s parents attempted to pursue an experimental therapy by Dr. Michio Hirano, a neurologist at Columbia University in New York, in a desperate attempt to save their baby. Dr. Hirano’s treatment involves the utilization of nucleosides, precursors to the nucleotide DNA building blocks. Eighteen other patients with MDS have received Dr. Hirano’s nucleoside therapy and reported significant results. Although none of the patients in the trial suffered from RRM2B mutations, one patient had a TK2 mutation, which is also involved in that maintenance of nucleotides. Despite Dr. Hirano’s promising therapy, the U.K. courts still refused to grant permission to Gard’s parents to transfer their baby to the U.S. for potentially life-saving treatment. As reported by LN, GOSH ruled that the treatment would be “incapable of achieving anything positive for him [the baby].”
Even if the U.K. courts had granted Gard’s parents permission, by the time the lengthy decision process of four months was over his condition had substantially worsened, and he was experiencing epilepsy encephalopathy, aggressive seizures leading to severe brain degeneration. Had it not been for the U.K.’s system of socialized medicine, Gard’s parents may not have been forced to watch helplessly the slow, painful deterioration of their son, and would have had the freedom to fight for his survival.
Perhaps if the U.K. was not under a system of socialized medicine, baby Charlie Gard could have received potentially life-extending treatment, instead of his slow suffering at the hands of the government. Unfortunately, many politicians are attempting to implement socialized medicine here in the U.S. Doing so would put the lives of patients requiring immediate medical intervention into the hands of “expert” government officials, ignorant of any medical knowledge. Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill questions:
Is this where our country is headed? It is indeed if we allow for socialized medical care to take root on our soil. America, it’s time to stop this madness. There is no free healthcare. Just ask Charlie’s mom and dad.