The parents of a terminally ill British baby whose life support is to be withdrawn are to present new evidence for his possible treatment in court today in a case that has moved Britain and prompted US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis to intervene. "If there is important evidence which suggests that I should change my decision then I will change it," Judge Nicholas Francis told the packed courtroom in central London. Francis, who had previously ruled that life support for 11-month-old Charlie Gard should be withdrawn, indicated that he would not be making a ruling today. Emotions ran high at the hearing and the boy's parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, walked out of the courtroom over a disagreement about what they had said in a hearing back in April. London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie Gard is being treated, asked a court to rule on how to proceed last week after the Vatican and the United States offered to help. Earlier this week, the boy's parents submitted a petition of over 350,000 signatures to the hospital, demanding that they be allowed to take him to the United States for treatment. A Vatican-run hospital in Rome has also said treatment may be possible. But the London hospital has so far stood by its opinion that Gard's rare form of mitochondrial disease, which causes progressive muscle weakness in the heart and other key organs, was not treatable. Doctors there believe Gard's brain damage is "severe and irreversible" and have said the baby may be suffering, in contradiction to the parents' views. But doctors said it was "right to explore" any new evidence and that they were seeking the court's view. The baby's father accused the hospital of lying at a preliminary hearing on Monday, shouting at the barrister representing the facility: "When are you going to start telling the truth?" Gard's parents have lost a series of appeals in British courts and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and had no further legal recourse. But the case drew international attention last week after the pope expressed his support for the baby's parents, saying he hoped doctors would allow them to "care for their child until the end". Trump also waded into the debate last week, tweeting that the United States "would be delighted" to help. A US specialist is to present evidence via video conference later.
Parents make legal bid to save terminally ill British baby