Charlie Gard's name has been doing rounds in global media for quite a long time, attracting the attention of some of the world's powerful leaders. But is such exposure good for children and parents in such cases?
Professor Dominic Wilkinson at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics has suggested that cases like Charlie Gard's should be allowed a fair discussion as the court is not an appropriate place to make such personal and ethically complex discussions. Such intense involvement of the media led to attacks on the hospital treating Charlie as well as his parents. So what have learnt from this case that we can apply to make sure the next time provides an equal platform?
As per the professor, one option would be to maintain the anonymity of the child in question. This would put the child out of media's glare but would be difficult for the parents to raise funds and garner support for their cause. Another way could be allowing public access to the medical records of the child so that decision can be made on facts but this would breach the patient's confidentiality. While all options would have its pros and cons, the professor suggests that some evidence is released to support the professional's opinion to provide an understanding of why such a decision is made.
While Charlie's case has brought attention to cases of life-prolonging treatment for a seriously ill patient, it would be ethically wrong to make judgements without all the facts.