Charlie Gard, Hope, Hate and Us
Exploring what made so many people so angry at the Great Ormond Street Hospital
Is it better to live in false hope than in no hope at all? It depends, of course, and varies from case to case; but it is possible that the false hope of a miracle cure given to the parents of Charlie Gard, the English baby with a rare genetic disease, will embitter them for the rest of their days.
They will continue to believe that, but for the malignity of the staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, who opposed Charlie being sent to New York for experimental and unproved therapy, their baby would have survived and lived happily ever after. This thought will gnaw at them to no good purpose.
They fought in the courts and lost. This raised the question of who “owns” a baby in a conflict such as that between Charlie’s parents and the hospital. Who has the right to decide?
Normally, we don’t like the idea of the state telling parents what to do and how to bring up their child. On the other hand, the world is full of cranks. My initiation into just how far people would go to impose their strange ideas on their own children occurred more than 40 years ago, when as a student I examined a baby who was bright orange.
Theodore Dalrymple is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to City Journal.
This piece originally appeared in New York Daily News