Charlie Gard: Hearing could be paused to allow US expert to examine baby

An American doctor offering to treat critically-ill baby Charlie Gard may come to the UK to examine his condition more closely, a court case over the baby's future has heard.

A High Court hearing is deciding whether the 11-month-old should be given experimental treatment for a severe degenerative genetic disorder which had left him with brain damage.

A US expert today claimed there was a 10% chance that treatment could have "clinically meaningful success" - but admitted he had not seen the baby's full medical notes and had never examined him.

Judge Mr Justice Francis raised the prospect that proceedings could be adjourned for several days to allow the expert to see baby Charlie in person.

The doctor, who cannot be named, said he would be willing to travel to London to carry out an examination.

The latest developments came after Charlie's parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates stormed out of the hearing earlier in the day.

Mr Gard stood up and said: "I thought this was supposed to be independent," as the couple left the courtroom about two hours into today's hearing.

The couple then returned to court for the afternoon session.

The latest High Court hearing is the latest round in an extended legal battle over Charlie's future.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard have renewed the fight to get their son Charlie experimental treatment Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say that Charlie has already suffered catastrophic brain damage and there is no prospect for any meaningful recovery.

They say further treatment may cause him pain and that life-support keeping Charlie alive should be stopped.

The courts earlier ruled that it was in Charlie's best interests to be allowed to die, in a case that went all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

Supporters of the Gard Family outside court. Credit: PA

However, GOSH agreed agreed to return to the High Court after several doctors from the USA and Italy came forward to claim there was compelling new evidence that treatment may help the baby.

The hospital has faced extreme pressure from campaigners pushing for Charlie to be given treatment as well as high-profile figures including the Pope and US President Donald Trump.

Mr Justice Francis, who previously ruled that treatment should stop, has made clear that he will need to see "new and powerful" evidence to change his earlier judgement.

President Trump and the Pope have both supported Charlie's campaign. Credit: PA

Charlie's parents made no statement outside court, but a spokesman said they had returned to their son's bedside.

Alasdair Seton-Marsden said:"Let's pray that British justice, known throughout the world for being fair, decent and compassionate, comes through for baby Charlie."