It is a miracle that the sad case of Charlie Gard continues to gather so much attention from media outlets and people around the world. The lessons that we can learn and should learn from these injustices against the Gard family are important and prophetic. Unfortunately, too many of us are turning this into a partisan political issue and closing our minds off from what this story means for us and our future here in the United States.
Until two weeks ago, only those who regularly read British news or right-wing blogs knew anything at all about Charlie. And it would have continued that way until a particular President decided to dedicate his 3 AM bathroom tweet to Charlie. This tweet, while being useful in gathering attention also turned the account of the Gards into a partisan issue.
The quick of it goes like this: A sick baby is born to UK parents. This baby has a rare disease that will likely kill him soon; however, there is an experimental treatment in the U.S. which may provide a cure. The parents raise plenty more than the necessary funds for the treatment and request “permission” from the UK hospital to take to the US. The hospital says no, the parents then go through the UK courts system which also says no. Finally, the case makes it to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which once again denies the parent
It is then ordered that the medical machinery keeping the kid alive are to turn off. And to put salt in the wound, the parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates, are not only stripped of their right to seek treatment for their only son; but are not even allowed to take the child to their home so he can at least die surrounded by his loved ones.
And this is where the case would have stayed if Pope Francis and President Trump hadn’t started putting the pressure down. Now Hospitals and doctors throughout the US and the Vatican are fighting for the chance to give free treatment and care for the child. And all that combined global pressure is making the UK courts just now starting to reconsider the case. Just this week, one US neurologist was “allowed” to visit Charlie. We can only pray that reason and sanity rule the day.
Here in the United States, the idea that anyone would get in the way of parents obtaining alternative medical treatment for their child is barbarism and rightly found insane. But in the UK and many other nations with government run “single payer” healthcare systems, this is a daily sad occurrence. According to the Great Ormand Street Hospital, UK courts, and the ECHR the parents right to seek alternative treatment, and even Charlie’s own right to life are superseded by his right to “die with dignity.”
While these ideas seem relatively new to us in the States (it isn’t) this concept of dying with dignity, euthanizing the sick, and the devaluation of human life isn’t new to Europe. Sickeningly, this case bears a sinister resemblance to a case our grandfathers witnessed just before World War 2. A case that, if they had paid careful attention to, potentially could have stopped the deaths of millions.
The year was 1939, and the nation was Germany. Just as now, there was a mortally sick child whose case made international news. Case K, as the German Doctors called him, suffered from blindness, physical deformation, and mental handicap. These parents, unlike the Gards, desired the exact opposite.
This poster (from around 1938) reads: “60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People’s community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too. Read ‘[A] New People’, the monthly magazine of the Bureau for Race Politics of the NSDAP.”
Instead, they wanted the right to euthanize him so he could die with dignity and without suffering. Hitler took full advantage of this news frenzy of a story and pushed all the right media buttons. He paraded this issue and made a public spectacle of it. The Furor actively encouraged the death of the child, and so some doctors were “persuaded” to kill the child. Case K died after being given a pill of luminal in 3 or 5 days.
It’s imperative that you must also remember that this story was popular in the US too. This is the tail-end of the 1930s, back when Hitler was still cool, and Eugenics the red hot progressive way of the future. Leaders in industry, arts, and government were eagerly hoping for this exact outcome for Case K and others like him. Names like Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Kennedy, Roosevelt, Wells, Shaw, Clark, and even Churchill favored such kinds of actions.
And what fools they were. In less than a month after the killing of Child K, 275,000 children across the Rhineland were forcibly taken and euthanized the same way K was. If your child were considered “unworthy of living’ due to physical, or mental handicap, he or she would be forcibly taken from you and put to death.
Hitler’s positive media story would turn into the opening salvo of the infamous Holocaust where millions would be assassinated because their life was considered less valuable than your typical German. If only our ancestors realized what this story meant for their future; if only they understood that once one live’s value can be measured, then all human life is only worth a small finite amount.
While we can blame Hitler, Eugenics, Progressivism, and the Nazis for the atrocities of the Holocaust; the unjust control over Charlie lies squarely with the National Health Service. This system, like many across the world, of rationed health care combined with a devaluating doctrine of life where everyone has the right to “die with dignity” is a powder keg waiting to explode.
Already if you attend a UK hospital your chance of surviving a visit is 45% less likely than if you went to a US hospital. 1,000 patients expire each month in UK hospitals due to dehydration and lack of attention from nurses and other medical staff. Back in 2013, Professor Patrick Pullicino revealed that according to him the NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year after being put on a “care pathway.” These deaths don’t even include all those poor people who never live long enough to receive care or get to visit the necessary specialist.
This is why the story of Charlie Gard is so important to all of the western world, and not just those in the UK. Because as the old saying goes: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Life, especially human life, is so incredibly precious. But in a health care system where limited resources must be rationed, there inevitably comes a time where the healthy and strong are put before the sick, old, and feeble. There is only so much medicine, so much money, and so many beds that can be filled. If you have to choose who lives and who dies; whom do you prioritize. The state gets to choose who lives and who dies.
This is why it is so important that we learn from the Charlie Gard story. The US is now deciding what kind of healthcare system we want. You are being told the positive benefits of “single payer” and other government based health care systems. Let this be a warning to you.
If the US chooses to follow the UK and implement anything like the National Health Service, stories like Charlie Gard will be a daily occurrence. Your rights as a parent will be diminished, and the ability to receive care for your sicker than an average child will be at least equally reduced. And also please remember, that the US is where the Gards are fleeing to for advanced medical help. Once we choose to take this path, there are no more alternatives.
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