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Sunday October 22nd, 2017 7:00PM

The Latest: UK PM May offers prayers for Charlie's parents

By The Associated Press
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LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the death of British baby Charlie Gard (all times local):

8:55 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed her sorrow at the death of a terminally ill 11-month-old baby whose court battle to seek experimental medical treatment in the United States caught the attention of the world.

May's Downing Street office issued a statement after Charlie Gard died Friday, a day after a judge ordered that he be moved from a hospital to a hospice.

May says "I am deeply saddened by the death of Charlie Gard. My thoughts and prayers are with Charlie's parents Chris and Connie at this difficult time."

Charlie's case became a flashpoint for debates on the rights of both children and parents, on health-care funding, medical interventions, the responsibilities of hospitals and medical workers and the role of the state.

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8:45 p.m.

Catholic groups and right-to-life organizations are expressing their sadness at the death of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old baby whose parents launched a long legal battle to have him seek experimental medical treatment in the United States.

Charlie died Friday a week shy of his first birthday.

The March for Life leader, Jeanne Mancini, offered her "thoughts and prayers" for the family "whose admirable fight for their child's right to life has had a profound and lasting impact on the entire world."

The Catholic Association, a religious organization that campaigns against abortion and assisted suicide, also offered its sympathies. Maureen Ferguson, its senior policy adviser, said "our hearts go out to the Gard family, who not only have suffered the loss of their precious baby boy, but have had to endure the interference and obstruction of the courts."

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8:35 p.m.

Pope Francis has offered his sympathies to the parents of Charlie Gard, the baby who became the center of a court battle after his parents sought experimental medical treatment for him in the United States.

Charlie died Friday, one week before his first birthday.

The leader of the Catholic church has posted a tweet saying "I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him."

The pope last month intervened in the case, saying that the wishes of the parents should be taken into account.

A court battle over Charlie's treatment had ensued amid disagreement between the parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London over how to best treat him. The hospital had argued that giving Charlie an experimental treatment in America would not help and could make him suffer.

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8:15 p.m.

America's vice president has expressed his sadness for the death of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old British baby whose fight to seek medical treatment in the United States sparked an international uproar and long legal battle.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence posted on Facebook: "Saddened to hear of the passing of Charlie Gard. Karen & I offer our prayers & condolences to his loving parents during this difficult time."

Pence's boss, President Donald Trump, had offered his support to the child, whose legal battle also attracted the attention of Pope Francis.

Charlie died on Friday, one week shy of his first birthday.

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8:05 p.m.

Great Ormond Street Hospital in London has expressed its condolences after the death of Charlie Gard, the terminally ill child who died on week short of his first birthday.

The hospital, which had been at the center of a legal battle with the child's parents, issued a statement late Friday following news of the child's death.

The hospital said "everyone at Great Ormond Street Hospital sends their heartfelt condolences to Charlie's parents and loved ones at this very sad time."

Charlie suffered from a rare genetic disease, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which left him brain damaged and unable to move his limbs or breathe unaided.

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6:35 p.m.

Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan said the Charlie Gard case shows how the medical profession is struggling to adjust to the age of social media, which puts the general public in the middle of decisions that in the past would have been private issues for doctors and the family.

Caplan, of New York University's Langone Medical Center says "I do think that in an era of social media, it is possible to rally huge numbers of people to your cause ... the medical ethics have not caught up."

The heated commentary prompted Judge Francis to criticize the effects of social media and those "who know almost nothing about this case but who feel entitled to express opinions."

Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, Britain's premier children's hospital, reported that its doctors and nurses were receiving serious threats over Charlie's case. London police are investigating.

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6:35 p.m.

Under British law, it is common for courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child. In such cases, the rights of the child take primacy over the parents' right to decide what's best for their offspring. The principle applies even in cases where parents have an alternative point of view, such as when religious beliefs prohibit blood transfusions.

Charlie Gard's case made it all the way to Britain's Supreme Court as Charlie's parents refused to accept decisions by a series of judges who backed Great Ormond Street. But the Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts, saying it was in Charlie's best interests that he be allowed to die.

The case caught the attention of Donald Trump and Pope Francis after the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene. The two leaders sent tweets of support for Charlie and his parents, triggering a surge of grassroots action, including a number of U.S. right-to-life activists who flew to London to support Charlie's parents.

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6:35 p.m.

Charlie Gard's parents raised more than 1.3 million pounds ($1.7 million) to take him to the United States for an experimental medical therapy they believed could prolong his life. But Charlie's doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London objected, saying the treatment wouldn't help and might cause him to suffer.

The dispute ended up in court.

Charlie's case became a flashpoint for debates on the rights of both children and parents, on health-care funding, medical interventions, the responsibilities of hospitals and medical workers and the role of the state.

After months of legal battles, High Court judge Nicholas Francis ruled Thursday that Charlie should be transferred to a hospice and taken off life support after his parents and the hospital failed to agree on an end-of-life care plan for the infant.

___

6:35 p.m.

Charlie Gard, the terminally ill British baby at the center of a legal and ethical battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump has died. He was one week shy of his first birthday.

Charlie suffered from a rare genetic disease, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which left him brain damaged and unable to move his limbs or breathe unaided.

A family spokeswoman, Alison Smith-Squire, confirmed Charlie's death on Friday, a day after a judge ordered he be taken to a hospice for his final hours.

His mother Connie Yates said in a statement "our beautiful little boy has gone, we're so proud of him."

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