False Hope

Can you image this?…

You are diagnosed with an illness which is terminal.. all your doctors can do for you is give you pain relief until eventually you die.  Then you speak to a Doctor on the internet who gives you hope that he can cure you.  Your hospital Doctors then offer that internet Doctor the chance to examine you and view your medical notes and he doesn’t bother to come over for 7 months, but just carries on saying there is a small hope that he can cure you and still he doesn’t read your medical notes, view your scans or examines you .

That internet Doctor has given you and your family false hope.

How can any Doctor give a clinical decision of how successful their therapy will be for your medical conditions without seeing your scans, or by reading your medical notes?


Well that is what happened in the case of Charlie Gard… nobody likes to see a baby die… nobody likes to see anybody die.  But when a Doctor proclaims he can work wonders, give a family false hope and not bother to visit the patient how the hell can that even be ethical, yet alone morally right?

In January this year Professor Michio Hirano was invited by Great Ormond Street Hospital to visit them and view Charlie Guard.

In point 8 of the Great Ormond Street Hospital position statement at High Court on 24 July 2017 the lawyers state the following:

In January, GOSH invited the Professor to come and see Charlie. That invitation remained open at all times but was not taken up until 18 July after being extended, once again, this time by the Court.

Between January and July 2017 the American Professor provided written and oral evidence to the court WITHOUT even visiting Charlie Gard in hospital.

In Court Professor Michio Hirano stated that not only had he not visited Charlie in hospital he had never read Charlie’s contemporaneous medical notes or viewed his brain scans.  And if that wasn’t bad enough it also emerged in court that he had financial interest in some of the NBT compounds be proposed to prescribe to Charlie in his treatment.  As covered in Point 10 of the Lawyers statement.

10. When the hospital was informed that the Professor had new laboratory findings causing him to believe NBT would be more beneficial to Charlie than he had previously opined, GOSH’s hope for Charlie and his parents was that that optimism would be confirmed. It was, therefore, with increasing surprise and disappointment that the hospital listened to the Professor’s fresh evidence to the Court. On 13 July he stated that not only had he not visited the hospital to examine Charlie but in addition, he had not read Charlie’s contemporaneous medical records or viewed Charlie’s brain imaging or read all of the second opinions about Charlie’s condition (obtained from experts all of whom had taken the opportunity to examine him and consider his records) or even read the Judge’s decision made on 11 April. Further, GOSH was concerned to hear the Professor state, for the first time, whilst in the witness box, that he retains a financial interest in some of the NBT compounds he proposed prescribing for Charlie. Devastatingly, the information obtained since 13 July gives no cause for optimism. Rather, it confirms that whilst NBT may well assist others in the future, it cannot and could not have assisted Charlie.

Surely if Professor Michio Hirano thought his treatment could benefit Charlie especially since GOSH had invited him to visit the patient, baby Charlie Gard, he would have jumped on the first plane available in January and viewed all the medical notes, brain scans etc?  But he didn’t.  All he did was give two parents false hope and a lot of grief and countless costs in lawyers fees and court fees for both GOSH and the parents.  To me that is morally wrong.

How the hell can any Professor, no matter how many qualifications they have to their name, make a clinical diagnosis or form a treatment plan without a) seeing the patient, b) reading their medical notes or c) by viewing their brain scans?

Nobody likes to see any child die… but this Professor has hell of a lot to answer for… and I deplore any medical professional who acts in this manner, by giving a patient or a patient’s family false hope.

And in all of this the one that has suffered the most is little Charlie Gard.  Charlie’s days are limited now… I hope that he will be allowed to be at home with his parent’s but if due to the necessity to limit his pain in his final moments… I hope the parents understand that the hospital are doing all they can to give little Charlie a peaceful death and that they are not being awkward. Charlie is on an artificial ventilator… whether he would survive the transfer from hospital to home is only a decision for the Doctor’s to make.

If Charlie would survive the transfer and spend his final hours pain-free then I do hope the parent’s are granted their final wish.. but I hope if this is not going to be the case.. I pray that the parents come to terms with the fact the hospital is doing what is best for Charlie.  And that the hospital would grant them their final wish… if it was medically and ethically possible.

I don’t know but maybe Lord Winston does make some good points here. As hard as it is to hear what he is saying. Sometimes cold hard facts are hard to take in and deal with.

You can watch the full interview of Lord Winston on Sky News where he says parents have made the right decision and it was wicked to give the parents false hope.


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