By Jim Sedlak
A year ago, the world prayed for 11-month-old Charlie Gard and his parents. Charlie had suffered brain damage and was breathing with the assistance of a ventilator at a hospital in the United Kingdom. Charlie’s parents wanted to take him for experimental treatments, had raised a million dollars through crowd-funding, and had doctors ready to accept him in America to move forward with the experimental treatment.
They only had one problem. The UK hospital where Charlie was a patient refused to allow the parents to remove him from the hospital. The hospital said it was in Charlie’s best interest to die rather than to “suffer” through the experimental treatment. The parents sued the hospital and lost in court. They appealed the decision and lost again and again. Eventually Charlie’s ventilator was removed and he died—without ever receiving any experimental treatment.
At the time, American Life League’s president, Judie Brown, penned a heartfelt tribute entitled Charlie Gard’s Symphony. She wrote:
But the truth is that the ventilator would not have worked if Charlie’s lungs and breathing muscles had not been functioning. A medical explanation of why this is so will help readers understand that Charlie did not have to die in a hospice without the ventilator he needed to help him breathe. Doctor Paul Byrne, MD, an expert on such questions, explained:
A ventilator pushes air with oxygen into Charlie. Yes, this mechanical movement of gases is necessary for Charlie but that is all that the ventilator does. Charlie's lungs, heart and circulation do the rest. They function to absorb the oxygen, circulate blood with oxygen to all of Charlie's organs, tissues and cells. The blood picks up the waste product, carbon dioxide, and delivers it to Charlie's lungs. The ventilator does not and cannot make the body "respire" i.e., exchange the oxygen and carbon dioxide for the organs, tissues and cells. For carbon dioxide to get out, Charlie's lungs and breathing muscles must first have the ventilator push the air in. Then Charlie's lungs and breathing muscles can function effectively to allow movement of the air with carbon dioxide to go out of Charlie. The ventilator does not exhale. The ventilator does not respire. The ventilator does not make the heart beat. It is in the living Charlie that these things occur. The ventilator simply moves the air into the person who needs help or cannot do this movement on their own.
Charlie died in July 2017. It is now 2018 and another child recently made the news as his parents fought the United Kingdom medical system—a system where medical institutions can kill children even as parents fight hard to keep them alive. In this case, the 12-month-old child who died because the state wanted him dead was Isaiah Haastrup. Once again, parents fought a brave, but losing battle to keep their son alive.
The scenario was very similar to Charlie’s. Isaiah suffered a medical problem at birth and needed a ventilator to push air into his body. Once the air was in there, Isaiah’s body took over. Remember that Dr. Byrne explained:
The ventilator does not exhale. The ventilator does not respire. The ventilator does not make the heart beat. It is in the living [Isaiah] that these things occur. The ventilator simply moves the air into the person who needs help or cannot do this movement on their own.
But once again, the hospital and the judges all decided it was in Isaiah’s “best interest” that he should die, and he died on March 7, 2018. According to The Guardian, the parents have not yet been allowed to bury their son. The holdup is that Isaiah did not die immediately when the ventilator was removed. His family said that he managed to breathe for eight hours on his own before dying. Isaiah’s father thinks that his son could have breathed on his own if he had been weaned from the ventilator instead of just having it turned off. Andrew Harris, the south London coroner, is investigating the case and may be questioning if Isaiah received the best treatment.
Isaiah’s father told The Guardian: “It is just further anguish for us. . . . We want to go ahead and just bury Isaiah now. We hope he will be released for burial next week after the autopsy.”
These two stories, separated by a year, should scare us. Man has a duty to protect and nurture the life of every human being, yet it seems that the medical system in the United Kingdom has lost all respect for the sacredness of every human being’s life. There is no recognition of the fact that every single one of us is created by God for a purpose.
If you read the accounts of the life and death of Charlie and Isaiah and agree with the courts that their deaths were in their “best interests,” then WAKE UP! You are part of the problem.
The problem is not just in the United Kingdom. It is exhibited by individuals and governments in country after country all over the world. Make no mistake, whether a person is killed by a terrorist with a roadside bomb, by a medical worker giving “palliative care” to an old person in a hospital, or by a shooter at a concert or in a school, these actions all have the same root. That root is a loss of respect for what God has created.
When we examine this loss of respect, we must start with the youngest among us—preborn babies. The United Kingdom has a total population of 65 million people and records 202,000 abortions a year. That’s approximately 0.3 percent of the population killed by abortion every year. In the United States, we have about 325 million people and estimate that some 920,000 die each year by surgical and medication abortions. Again, that’s about 0.3 percent of the population. Just since the turn of the century, both countries have killed five percent of their populations.
If we are to turn our society around so that we give up the notion that some third party can decide that it is in the “best interest” of anyone to die rather than live out the life God has planned for him, we must begin with the preborn. Then we can move to the already born, the physically and mentally challenged, the injured, the infirmed, and the elderly.
The situation of desperate parents in the United Kingdom is not an isolated incident. Recognition of the wrong done must shake our complacent society to the core. How can we worry about investing in Bitcoins when millions of our brothers and sisters are either slaughtered in the womb or exterminated later if they escape death there?
Children like Charlie and Isaiah are calling out to us from their graves. They beg us to stop the carnage. They implore us to let all those who come after them to be blessed with a society that will fight for every child the same way their parents fought for them.
Let Charlie’s and Isaiah’s stories be a wake-up call. Let’s move forward rededicated to protecting the lives of every human being—no exceptions and no compromise.
Jim Sedlak is vice president of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk show on the Radio Maria Network.