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Charlie Gard: Death threats sent to Great Ormond St staff

Staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital have received abuse from the public as the parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard continue a court battle against the hospital's decision that it is in the 11-month-old's best interests to remove life support.
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Staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital have received abuse from the public as the parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard continue a court battle against the hospital's decision that it is in the 11-month-old's best interests to remove life support.

Nurses and doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) have received death threats in relation to the case of the terminally ill baby Charlie Gard.

Staff have been sent thousands of abusive online messages and subjected to harassment in the street. Families of patients had also been made to feel uncomfortable while visiting their children, the hospital said in a statement over the weekend.

The London childrens hospital is involved in a high profile legal battle to remove life support from the 11-month-old, who has a rare genetic disorder. His parents want to take him to the US for experimental treatment.

Staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital have received abuse from the public as the parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard continue a court battle against the hospital's decision that it is in the 11-month-old's best interests to remove life support.

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Picture: Alamy

Nurses and doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) have received death threats in relation to the case of the terminally ill baby Charlie Gard.

Staff have been sent thousands of abusive online messages and subjected to harassment in the street. Families of patients had also been made to feel uncomfortable while visiting their children, the hospital said in a statement over the weekend.

The London children’s hospital is involved in a high profile legal battle to remove life support from the 11-month-old, who has a rare genetic disorder. His parents want to take him to the US for experimental treatment. A high court hearing will start today to consider the latest evidence, including testimony from a US neurologist who has visited Charlie in hospital.

Unacceptable behaviour

GOSH chair Mary MacLeod said: ‘The GOSH community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance… and we have received complaints of unacceptable behaviour even within the hospital itself.'

She added: ‘Charlie Gard's case is a heart-breaking one. We fully understand that there is intense public interest, and that emotions run high.’ 

Through a spokesperson, Charlie Gard’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard said they ‘do not condone any threatening or abusive remarks towards any staff members at Gosh’, adding that they had too had received 'hurtful comments from the public' since the hospital released a statement.

Utmost respect

Connie Yates said: 'Despite conflicting issues, we have always had the utmost respect for all the staff who work tirelessly at Great Ormond Street hospital and the very difficult jobs they do every day. Like them we have been shocked by some of the public response to this case and agree with them that it is disgraceful that doctors have received death threats.’ 

Charlie Gard has a form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and irreversible brain damage. His parents have lost a succession of court cases to overturn the hospital’s decision that it would be in the best interests of the child to be allowed to die.

The hospital said it is in close contact with the Metropolitan Police over the abusive behaviour.

Ms MacLeod added: ‘Whatever the strong emotions raised by this case, there can be no excuse for patients and families to have their privacy and peace disturbed as they deal with their own often very stressful situations, or for dedicated doctors and nurses to suffer this kind of abuse.’


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