Give baby Charlie a chance, parents urge judge
The parents of baby at the centre of a High Court life-support treatment battle have asked a judge to give their son "a chance"
Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London think it is time to stop providing life support treatment to eight-month-old Charlie Gard.
Doctors say Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, should move to a palliative care regime.
Charlie's parents, who are both in their early 30s, disagree.
Postman Chris Gard and Connie Yates, of Bedfont, west London, want to be allowed to take him to a hospital in America where they hope he can be treated.
Mr Justice Francis has been asked to make decisions about what is in Charlie's best interests.
He is analysing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London which began on Monday.
The judge has been told Charlie, who was born on August 4 2016, has a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition which causes progressive muscle weakness.
Mr Gard and Miss Yates on Wednesday told the judge that Charlie experienced pleasure and was not in pain
They said he should get treatment to see whether his condition improved.
Mr Gard described himself as "Charlie's proud dad" and asked Mr Justice Francis: "Please give him a chance."
"My son is the apple of my eye and I would do anything for him and I want to give him a chance," he said.
"He deserves a chance.
"It doesn't mean he should have to die because he will not be like another little boy running around."
Mr Gard said he and Miss Yates believed in a treatment trial doctors in America were proposing.
"If there is no improvement we will let him go," he said.
"We just want to give him a chance.
"It is just having something there that could possibly improve him because he deserves a chance."
Miss Yates echoed Mr Gard's pleas.
"If I thought for a moment that Charlie was in pain or suffering I would not fight for that life to be extended," she said.
"All we ask is that he be given the chance to have the treatment proposed.
"Charlie deserves that chance."
Miss Yates broke down at the start of Wednesday's hearing when a Great Ormond Street specialist gave details of Charlie's condition.
"Charlie has deteriorated hugely since he first came to us,'' said the specialist.
"The disease has affected his brain to the extent that he is completely ventilator-dependent.
"This situation is not a tolerable one to leave a child in.''
Mr Gard had given evidence with a toy monkey which belongs to Charlie protruding from the top pocket of his jacket.
The judge said Charlie's parents must have gone through "living hell" when giving evidence.
The hearing resumes on Friday.