In recent weeks, controversy has swirled around an 11-month-old baby boy from the U.K.
To catch you up, Charlie Gard was born nearly one year ago with a rare and terminal medical condition called encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, or MDDS. Although he appeared to be perfectly healthy at birth, his health began to deteriorate shortly after. According to BBC, Gard has severe brain damage and is unable to do simple things like open his eyes or move his limbs. He is unable to breathe without a ventilator and, as a result, is currently on life support at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London.
Gard’s doctors at GOSH believe he needs to be taken off life support and given the chance to die peacefully and with dignity. The baby’s parents disagree. They want him to try an experimental treatment called nucleoside bypass therapy — something a hospital in the U.S. offered to perform for them.
Gard’s doctors say the experimental treatment cannot reverse any brain damage and is unjustified. The hospital applied to the high court for judges to decide his future.
The high court agreed with the GOSH doctors.
High profile figures including Pope Francis and President Donald Trump have given their two cents on the controversial decision, garnering even more media attention.
The controversy came to the U.S. when our tweeter in chief offered his support to Gard’s parents through social media. “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”
This case is both heart-wrenching and outrageous, but does that mean it should be argued about over social media? We think not.
It is understandable why the high court would get involved, but the case shouldn’t have been plastered all over Facebook and Twitter.
The life of a baby is in question, and people are arguing over his fate as if it is their responsibility or their privilege to decide what happens to him. Gard has hardly been given a chance to live, and now his death and the controversy around it will be forever immortalized by Facebook shares and retweets.
We can certainly fathom the world’s interest in the case. It is emotional and intriguing, and, no matter where they stand on the issue, people feel like sharing their opinion on the topic. The intentions are admirable and respectable, but they must come to an end.
Gard’s family is just that — a family. Imagine if your own family were going through this kind of traumatic experience and dealing with such emotional turmoil. Consider the impact it would make to have the entire situation broadcast in the media for the world to see. Imagine the entire world throwing in their opinions about the fate of your own child, about the fate of your own family.
We can respect the fact that the world is curious, and this case is definitely interesting and worthy of curiosity. What we can’t respect, dear reader, is the world taking it upon themselves to decide the fate of an 11-month old.
Whether it be criticism, support or general curiosity, leave Gard alone. The baby deserves his privacy and his dignity.