Charlie Gard, the terminally ill baby suffering from a rare mitochondrial disease, is at the centre of a legal tussle.
The New York-based neurologist claims there is a 10 per cent chance that his experimental treatment could improve muscle strength and bring a “small but significant” improvement to Charlie’s brain function.
A week ago a British judge set fresh hearings on experimental treatment for Charlie.
The U.S. doctor offering the treatment – Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center – visited London’s world-renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) to examine Charlie for the first time and to meet other medical experts involved in the case.
Preliminary hearings were held at the Family Division of the High Court in London over the last week.
They say life support treatment should stop.
Tragic Charlie was born with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a rare and debilitating genetic condition that leaves sufferers severe mental and physical.
An American neurosurgeon who offered to treat Charlie is due to be among specialists gathering at the hospital.
Great Ormond Street Hospital has said clinical staff are “on hand to facilitate the visit” and Dr Hirano has been given an honorary contract, giving him full access to the baby’s medical records.
It has prompted a fierce debate around the world about medical ethics and whether the hospital treating the child or his parents should determine his fate.
Alasdair Seton-Marsden, who represents Charlie Gard’s family to the press, has said baby Charlie has become “a prisoner of the state“. Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, fought to attend and was given permission – even though it would not normally be allowed.
The couple has already lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London, and they have failed to persuade the European Court of Human Rights to intervene in their case.
In April the judge ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.
The findings of the meeting will be reported to Judge Nicholas Francis who is expected to make a final decision on July 25.