[This title is not hyperbole - this is what happens when you give up all rights to "the State" - and this is just the beginning]
Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old British baby who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, an extremely debilitating and rare neurological disease, was given an 11-day stay of execution by a British judge on July 14. That may be a sensational way of describing the situation facing the child and his parents, but in terms of the potential outcome, it is essentially accurate.
Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being kept alive and given only palliative care while his future is fought out in court, have said his condition is hopeless and he should be allowed to die – which is expected to happen as soon as life support in hospital is removed. His parents want to take him to the United States, where treatment has been offered by Columbia University in a department that specializes in a range of neurological disorders including the one that Charlie has.
On July 14, it was announced that Michio Hirano, M.D., an acknowledged American expert in the field at Columbia, would travel to England next week to assess the boy's condition and, presumably, testify in person in court that Columbia's experimental treatment has an "11% to 56% chance of clinically meaningful improvement" in Charlie's condition. That is the essence of the testimony Dr. Hirano gave to the court in his communication by video from New York on Thursday, July 13. Dr. Hirano also told the court that "the baby's MRI scan did not necessarily indicate structural damage to the brain" – which contradicts what the physicians in Britain are claiming. In response to the emergency hearing on July 13, the judge of the High Court said he would hear more evidence in the case and render a final verdict of life or death for Charlie by July 25.
Dr. Hirano's page at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons presents a picture of a world-renowned genius-level researcher and clinician. Dr. Hirano, a physician with 30 years' experience, received his B.A. from Harvard College and M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He currently serves as chief of the Neuromuscular Division, co-director of the CUMC (Columbia University Medical Center) Muscular Dystrophy Association clinic, and director of the H. Houston Merritt Center for Muscular Dystrophy and Related Diseases. His research focuses on mitochondrial diseases and genetic myopathies. Since 2005, Dr. Hirano has received individually or with his colleagues almost two dozen research grants from the National Institutes of Health. He has authored or co-authored scores of scientific articles in his specialty published in the peer-reviewed medical literature.
To the credit of Charlie's parents, they have managed to connect with the clinician and researcher, who appears to be one of the – if not the – world's leading expert(s) on Charlie's condition. Meanwhile, Dr. Hirano and his colleagues at Columbia are willing to treat Charlie.
In the medically backward United Kingdom that has suffered under the yoke of socialized medicine since 1948, innovations in medicine and leading research are seriously lacking. For example, Great Britain has nothing resembling a facility like Dr. Hirano's at Columbia University. The country, where rationing of medical care has become a fact of life due to limitations in funding imposed by the government, also claims the power to control the lives of its citizens cradle to grave, including, as in this case, the right of a minor patient to be taken to another country by his parents for treatment. Sitting here in the relative freedom of the United States, it is difficult to imagine the draconian power over the citizenry that resides in the U.K.'s National Health Service and the country's courts that are employed, when deemed necessary, to uphold the opinions of doctors.
The situation regarding the fate of Charlie Gard that is playing out in England, which has captured world attention, is the clearest current example of what government-controlled, socialized medicine results in – that is, total control of the population, with bureaucrats able to directly and with finality influence the course of everyone's life and death. The news about Charlie Gard (or his parents) vs. the state should raise serious alarms here as Democrat politicians in the United States increasingly promote the imposition of a scheme similar to the one in the U.K. – single-payer socialized medicine. In this author's opinion, it's a prescription for death.