A British couple is spending the final hours with their 10-month-old son after courts denied their last-ditch effort to keep him alive.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates were granted more time with their terminally-ill son, Charlie Gard, by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. PEOPLE reports that his life support was supposed to have been turned off on Friday.
Charlie suffers from a rare genetic disease and resulting brain damage, which has left the child without the ability to move, eat or breathe on his own. He suffers from infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, or MDDS. His parents had fought the decision to take Charlie off life support because they wanted to seek experimental treatment in the U.S.
However, British courts ruled against Charlie's parents after doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital insisted that there was no chance for Charlie to survive. The courts sided with the hospital, determining that further treatment would "continue to cause Charlie significant harm."
Charlie's parents took the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, which decided against hearing the case on Tuesday and upheld the previous rulings to withdraw life support.
On Friday, the hospital agreed to allow Charlie's parents more time to say goodbye to their son. Yates expressed gratitude for the support the family has received from the public.
"We have been in talks today with Great Ormond Street and they have agreed to give us a little bit more time with Charlie," she said. "We are really grateful for all the support from the public at this extremely difficult time. We're making precious memories that we can treasure forever with very heavy hearts. Please respect our privacy while we prepare to say the final goodbye to our son Charlie."
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