In April, the High Court found for the doctors and against the parents.
In May, the Court of Appeal upheld the initial decision.
In early June, the Supreme Court agreed.
Justice Nicholas Francis of the High Court’s Family Division, who authored the decision subsequently upheld by the higher courts, death is “in Charlie’s best interests.” There was no “scientific basis” for believing that Charlie would respond positively to the experimental American treatment; meanwhile, there is “unanimity among the experts from whom I have heard that nucleoside therapy cannot reverse structural brain damage.” “If,” wrote Justice Francis, “Charlie’s damaged brain function cannot be improved, as all agree, then how can he be any better off than he is now?” It was “with a heavy heart,” the judge said, that he sided with the doctors.
In the early 2000s, this logic was at work in the Terry Schiavo case, in which American courts took it upon themselves to ascertain Schiavo’s unexpressed will and enact it; inevitably, they endorsed her death, on the grounds that she would not want to live “with no hope” in her present vegetative state.