Hot Air is reporting the latest twist in the fight of Charlie Gard’s parents to allow their baby to remain alive. Judge Nicholas Francis, the same British magistrate who was pretty sure that the weight of medical science compelled Charlie to be “allowed to die” has now ruled that an American specialist who thinks his treatment might be of benefit to the ailing baby will be allowed to examine the child. Dr. Michio Hirono, the practitioner in question, will be joined by a doctor from the Vatican Hospital that has volunteered to treat Charlie without condemning him to die.

The right to a second opinion

In the United States, when a patient or, in this case, the parents of a patient is unsatisfied with the diagnosis and treatment that has been prescribed, he or she will often ask for a second opinion. In America, this situation arises all the time. Often a fresh pair of eyes and different training and experience from a new doctor can bring about a different therapy regime or even a different diagnosis. The system has been enshrined in American medicine for almost forever.

Not so the way medicine is practiced by the government run National Health Service in the UK, apparently. The position of the medical and legal establishment in Great Britain was that the doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital have all the expertise necessary to determine the best treatment for Charlie, that being to remove his ventilator and “allow him to die.” Any objections to the contrary were spurned as the yammering of uninformed, hysterical people.

What changed?

Did the British court suddenly have an epiphany that when matters of life and death are concerned, it is best to be sure? More likely, since the case of Charlie Gard has become an international sensation, with both the President of the United States and Pope Francis weighing in, the case for “allowing Charlie to die” has become undeniable.

The soulless, heartless system that runs British healthcare cannot just pull the plug without igniting a firestorm the scope of which cannot now be accurately evaluated.

Still, the judge did not go all the way with just allowing Charlie’s parents to take their baby to America for the treatment that they hope might give their son a chance at life.

The compromise is to permit something that is routine in the United States, the visit by a specialist to get a second opinion. Doubtless, the hope is that Dr. Hirono will shake his head sadly and announce that there is nothing that can be done, opening the way to execute the original judgment of the court. However, one should at least applaud the sudden fit of magnanimity on the part of the British judicial system which has Charlie Gard at its mercy.