The father of a six-year-old boy treated by the same US doctor offering to help Charlie Gard said today: ‘If my son was in the UK he’d be dead’.
Art Estopinan, from Baltimore, claims Donald Trump ‘saved’ ten-month-old Charlie by offering him free care because his doctors were about to switch off his life support.
Mr Estopinan’s son Art Jr was given two months to live in 2011 and could only move his eyes but six years later he can move his hands, fingers, feet and arms and is a ‘strong and happy boy’.
He appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and was involved in a row with the show’s GP Dr Hilary Jones who said the cases were different, adding: ‘Sometimes real parental love is letting go’.
A furious Mr Estopinan said: ‘Charlie Gard is a human being who deserves the chance to live’, adding: ‘What right do you have to play God? What this guy is saying is false – you sir are 100 per cent wrong’.
Mr Estopinan’s son Art Jr was given two months to live in 2011 but says the US doctor offering to help Charlie saved him and he has a happy life
Art has a similar but not identical mitochondrial depletion syndrome to Charlie and was the first person ever to receive the experimental and pioneering nucleoside therapy
Family photos and video (pictured) show him moving in a special wheelchair, sitting around the dinner table and playing in the son
Now the Pope offers Charlie Gard treatment at his personal hospital
The Pediatric Hospital Bambino Gesu (pictured)
The Pope’s own Roman hospital has today offered to care for Charlie Gard to prevent Great Ormond Street Hospital ending his life.
The ten-month-old’s defiant parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard have told supporters they are ‘still fighting’ to save him.
Theresa May is today facing increasing pressure to make a ‘moral’ intervention after the US President and the Pope gave their support as doctors prepare to turn off his life support.
The Pontiff also tweeted: ‘To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all’.
Today the Vatican’s Pediatric Hospital Bambino Gesu, known as the ‘Pope’s Hospital’, has offered to take Charlie Gard from Great Ormond Street.
President of the hospital, Mariella Enoc, tweeted that the Holy Father’s own words in support of Charlie ‘sum up our mission’.
She said: ‘I have asked the health director to check with Great Ormond Street Hospital if there are sanitary conditions for an eventual transfer of Charlie to our hospital. We know that the case is desperate’.
He explained: ‘The doctor in the US who saved my son has a plan to treat Charlie. I trust [the doctor] with my son’s life and he says there’s hope for Charlie. If there’s treatment that can help him then he deserves that chance’.
Yesterday Donald Trump joined the Pope in vowing to help the desperately ill baby boy as British doctors prepare to withdraw his life-support.
Mr Estopinan said: ‘President Trump has saved him. He was set to die yesterday morning’, adding Mr Trump’s administration had paid attention to Art Jr’s recovery and through him became aware of Charlie’s plight’.
Art and his wife and Olga believe that their six-year-old son Art Jr ‘would surely be dead by now’ if he was in the UK.
He was given experimental treatment by the same American doctor who wants to see Charlie.
Art has a similar but not identical mitochondrial depletion syndrome to Charlie and was the first person ever to receive the experimental and pioneering nucleoside therapy.
Family photos and video show him moving in a special wheelchair, sitting around the dinner table and playing in the son.
Mr Estopinan said: ‘I have been to meet Charlie’s parents – we are connected – we are one family’.
President Trump risked a diplomatic row yesterday by declaring America’s support for saving Charlie Gard.
He joined the Pope in vowing to help the desperately ill baby boy as British doctors prepare to withdraw his life-support.
Charlie’s parents have raised £1.3million from the public to fund experimental treatment in the United States.
But Washington sources said yesterday that the American hospital and doctor had agreed to waive their fees.
Last night, Charlie’s parents Connie Yates, 31, and Chris Gard, 32, said the support of the Pope and the US President had left them ‘overwhelmed with emotion’.
Art Estopinan, from Baltimore, (left) who has a son with a similar condition to Charlie Gard was upset when Dr Hilary (right) suggested it can be kinder to let an unwell child die
Art and his wife and Olga (right) believe that their six-year-old son Art Jr ‘would surely be dead by now’ if he was in the UK.
The six-year-old boy has gained some movement after getting the nucleoside therapy being denied to Charlie
The US President tweeted: ‘If we can help little Charlie Gard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so’
Miss Yates responded to Mr Trump’s offer of free treatment by saying they are ‘still fighting’ for their son
They are spending the final days of their son’s life with him, after being given extra time to say their goodbyes.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates are spending the last days of their ten-month-old son Charlie’s life with him at hospital in London
The White House said President Trump was ‘trying to be helpful’, but his intervention in a tweet yesterday afternoon is a challenge to British and European judges who have ruled that Charlie – who was born 11 months ago today – must be allowed to die.
His parents’ desire to take him to the US has have been blocked by the High Court, Appeal Court, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights, which backed Great Ormond Street doctors who say he has no hope and should be allowed to die.
Charlie is thought to be one of only 16 children in the world with mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
He has irreversible brain damage, his lungs cannot function without a ventilator, and he cannot see, hear, move, cry or swallow. Yesterday President Trump ordered White House officials to make contact with Charlie’s family, and tweeted: ‘If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.’
But his intervention was met with exasperation in some quarters of Whitehall, with No10 calling it ‘a delicate case’.
The Ministry of Justice said court rulings against Charlie’s parents ‘were made by an independent judiciary’ and there was no basis to challenge them. Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said: ‘This is a very delicate case and it would be inappropriate to discuss it further at this stage. Our thoughts are with Charlie and his family.’
Charlie’s parents desperately wanted their son (pictured) to undergo treatment in America – Mr Trump says he can secure it of they can get to the US
Charlie’s supporters including Cher have called on Charlie to be allowed to fly to America – with some tweeting Mrs May directly urging her to intervene
President Trump’s tweet, which was ‘liked’ 40,000 times within two hours, came after Pope Francis offered his own backing.
The Vatican said the Pope ‘is following with affection and sadness the case of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents. For this he prays that their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end is not neglected’. Last night a White House spokesman said: ‘Upon learning of baby Charlie Gard’s situation, President Trump has offered to help the family in this heart-breaking situation.
‘Although the President himself has not spoken to the family – he does not want to pressure them in any way – members of the administration have spoken to the family in calls facilitated by the British government.
‘The President is just trying to be helpful if at all possible.’ A spokesman for Charlie’s parents, of Bedfont, west London, said: ‘Chris and Connie are overwhelmed with emotion that President Trump and the Pope have spoken publicly of their support.
‘Their kind words have given them so much comfort. They remain at Charlie’s bedside and his condition remains stable.’ They released a new photograph of the family together as supporters around the world calling themselves Charlie’s Army demanded another chance for their son.
CAN PRESIDENT TRUMP HELP CHARLIE GARD?
As Donald Trump weighed in on the fight to save British baby Charlie Gard on Monday, Theresa May is facing pressure to intervene.
Her spokesman said yesterday it would be ‘inappropriate’ to discuss the ‘delicate case’.
Without her support the US president would not have the authority to go over the European Court of Human Rights to try to keep the boy alive.
Charlie’s parents have been told by Europe’s highest court that his life support must be switched off soon, a decision they have been desperately fighting to avoid.
President Donald Trump has offered to help dying British baby Charlie Gard – but whether or not he can is under consideration
Great Ormond Street doctors would have to change their minds about letting him travel to the US.
On Monday, White House officials revealed that a doctor and hospital in the US has offered their services to the boy if his parents can get him here.
While the president himself has not spoken to the family, members of the administration have and they have been aided by the UK government which has taken a hands-off public approach to the subject.
DailyMail.com understands that if the boy is able to arrive in the US with his family, the treatment will be carried out free of charge.
The answer to whether or not this is a reality lies in the UK.
The first factor is that London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital is allowed to withdraw his care (i.e. turn off the ventilator keeping him alive) when it sees fit. Following the European court’s decision, the hospital’s doctors said they were in no rush to do so and were giving the family more time together.
If the US is to intervene, it will have to do so before those doctors turn off Charlie’s ventilator.
In 2014, Ashya King’s parents were arrested for neglect after taking him out of hospital in the UK to seek alternative treatment abroad
The second issue is that of the legal ramifications his family will face if they flout the European court’s rulings. It is not abundantly clear where the jurisdiction lies with punishing Mr. and Mrs. Gard.
Solicitors for the family were working with British officials and the White House on Tuesday to try to untangle find an answer to this question.
The family’s ordeal reignites the debate on who should have final say over a sick child’s life.
It was an issue which sparked global debate in 2014 when another the parents of five-year-old British boy Ashya King removed him from Southampton General Hospital against doctors’ advice to seek alternative therapy to treat his brain cancer in Prague.
Brett and Naghemeh King wanted Ashya to undergo proton beam therapy which was not available in the UK.
The couple was arrested in Malaga, Spain, and were accused of neglect. They later had the charges dropped and were allowed to take their son the Czech Republic to receive the treatment.
He is now cancer free and back at school. Three proton beam therapy centers, funded by Proton Partners International, are now under construction in the UK and will accept both private healthcare and NHS patients.