The parents of Charlie Gard have ended their legal challenge to take their son to America for experimental “nucleoside” treatment. They now face what no parent ever wishes to face – the reality that there is no realistic medical hope that their little boy will recover.

A time will come to look at what went wrong in this case, why it was not possible to find agreement between parents and doctors about what was in Charlie’s best interests, and whether the legal case was decided rightly and on the right grounds. It might also become clearer in future whether this kind of experimental treatment could offer any hope to children with Charlie’s condition. However, these questions are for another day.

Now is the time to remember the preciousness of the child at the heart of this case, and to allow his parents to be with him until he passes from this life. If further treatment may no longer be worthwhile, Charlie’s life is inherently worthwhile, having the dignity and irreplaceability of every human life, and this will remain so even in the coming days. Charlie and all those around him remain in our thoughts and prayers at this time.

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