According to a US Republican Congressman, Charlie Gard has been given US citizenship to fly to the country for treatment. Charlie first made headlines all around the world after he was diagnosed with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Both of his parents have been said to have carried the gene, and Charlie is apparently one of only 16 ever recorded cases of this syndrome.
Jeff Fortenberry, republican representative for the midwestern state of Nebraska posted a tweet on July 18th, stating:
We just passed amendment that grants permanent resident status to #CharlieGard and family so Charlie can get the medical treatment he needs.
— Jeff Fortenberry (@JeffFortenberry) July 18, 2017
This isn’t the first time the US has offered its help to the family of little Charlie. He was previously offered free treatment from a US hospital after President Donald Trump tweeted his assistance.
If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017
Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, as the name implies, affects the DNA inside the mitochondria of the cells, meaning they cannot provide energy to the muscles and kidneys. As a result, in infancy and early childhood, this disease can be fatal.
The family has been dealing with a tough legal battle since April of 2017, kicking off with the judge threatening to kill the life support machine, ruling that it would be cruel to attempt to extend Charlie’s life further.
Even though Charlie is ready to go to the US for treatment, it’s unclear if his parents will be able to ‘force’ the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to let Charlie go so he can fly to the US.
According to the Mail Online, the hospital may prevent Connie and Chris from taking Charlie to the US, if they believe that doing that will cause further suffering to the boy. In the worst case scenario, police can arrest the parents for using the Powers of Protection legislation, but that isn’t likely to happen because of Charlie’s citizenship.