Action Zones 

Tragic loss of Charlie Gard 

31st July 2017
by Revd Helen Garrard Lead Chaplain Norfolk Community Health and Care
Priscilla Bacon Lodge
Unthank Road

Charlie-Gard 2017
The attention of the media and probably many of us has been captured by the sad news that baby Charlie Gard died just a few days ago. His death was not unexpected but is a tragic loss for his family and many others around him

On a number of occasions I have been asked, in my capacity as Hospice Chaplain, what I think about the Charlie Gard case. My initial answer is to reflect on how sad it is that any parent should have to face the death of a child

Charlie’s situation has perhaps been made even more poignant by the fact that in the very beginning he was a normally developing healthy baby boy. When he was just a few months old he became unwell with a condition that could not be cured and there followed a lengthy and complex struggle to reach not the right, but the best decision regarding his future. Doctors and other leading figures including the Pope and the U.S. President became involved and Charlie’s parents challenged the decisions of the courts on a number of occasions, acting solely in defence of their son

When a child is critically ill there will be huge amounts of anguish and heartbreak when difficult decisions need to be made. I applaud Charlie’s parents for their determination to fight as long and hard as they did for the life of their child. I also applaud all those medical professionals, lawyers, and others who did their very best to preserve his best interests and work with compassion and care for Charlie and his family

What do I really think about the Charlie Gard case? What I really think is that each and every human life matters. Every life has meaning and value. Every life is a precious gift from God. Whether life is unduly short or long and full, when we are faced with its ending we turn to God, who gave us life with a whole rainbow of feelings from rage to gratitude. So now our prayers are for Charlie, his loving parents and those who cared so tenderly, that peace may once again return and in time they will grow through the pain of loss to experience the joy of Charlie’s life that was briefly given to them

image courtesy of

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