The BBC’s morning programme used two inappropriate words in its report of the Charlie Gard tragedy this morning – they spoke of the baby’s parent’s ‘dilemma’ and of doctors’ ‘advice’.
The Great Ormond Street cabal did not ‘advise’ they dictated. There was no ‘dilemma’ – the parents were painted into a corner from which they could not escape by a legal machine which, whatever its protestations, is more interested in the money than the welfare of the child.
There was a time when doctors advised – no more.
There was a time when legal redress was the right of every citizen; a time now gone. The withdrawal of most aspects of the Legal Aid structure, inadequate though it always was, has made access to justice beyond the reach of people in the street.
Is it not strange that the medical profession believes it morally defensible to disregard the rights of parents and patients along the well-trodden (and expensive) road to court? Does no-one find it odd that a vocation so dedicated to the preservation of life should be so steadfastly intent on ending it in some cases, preserving it in others, and always, it seems, militating against the will of the most interested parties?
I am not suggesting the National Health Service should have been prevailed upon to sustain life in Charlie Gard indefinitely. I am stating that he should have been released into alternative care as soon as they admitted to being unable to help him and as soon as his parents asked for this to be done. Instead they held onto the poor child as if he were in some way their property until no alternatives remained, and weighed the validity of their own prognosis above everyone else’s.
Is this the health service any of us want?