The American doctor who offered to treat Charlie Gard has permission to travel to the UK and examine the terminally-ill baby early next week.
High Court Judge Nicholas Francis said Friday that he was, "open-minded about the evidence" to come after the visit of Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University.
Hirano's research focuses on mitochondrial diseases and genetic myopathies and he has treated others with conditions similar to that involving the 11-month-old.
He testified on Thursday, via VideoLink, that Charlie has a 10 percent chance of improving with experimental treatment available in the U.S. The judge ruled he could meet with Charlie's doctors.
"I hope that this news is a step in the right direction for baby Charlie and his family. All we are asking for is to give this child a choice at therapy that could help save him. He has been held hostage by the state, who has determined his life may not be worth it. Every life is valuable and has meaning and this little boy should be given every chance at life," said Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life in a statement to CBN News.
Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital have fought the parents' bid for therapy because they don't think it will help and may cause him pain. The hospital says Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.
The hospital has said that "a world where only parents speak and decide for children and where children have no separate identity or rights and no court to hear and protect them is far from the world in which (Great Ormond Street Hospital) treats its child patients."
Father Frank Pavone, with Priests for Life told CBN News in statement: “News that an American doctor with experience in treating Charlie’s disease will travel to the U.K. to examine him is certainly welcome. Ultimately, decision about further treatment should be made by Charlie’s parents in consultation with the doctors they choose, and not by any court."
“Where there’s life, there’s hope, and we will continue praying for Charlie and his parents,” Pavone said.
Two U.S. hospitals are both willing to take Charlie in--New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center. However, they have a few conditions. Charlie needs to be able to be transferred safely, "legal hurdles" must be cleared, and the FDA must give "emergency approval" for the experimental treatment.
The High Court announced it will have a decision on whether Charlie can travel to the U.S. no later than July 25.