SALT LAKE CITY — When a child is sick, parents go to doctors looking for a diagnosis, prescription or treatment plan. Sometimes they find conflict.
Such cases are rare, but the plight of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old with a devastating mitochondrial disease who died Friday in the United Kingdom, has reminded the world that doctors and parents don’t always agree, sometimes with heartbreaking results.
Closer to home was the case of Parker Jensen, the Utah teen whose parents were charged with neglect and kidnapping in 2003 after they refused chemotherapy for him and fled to Idaho.
The parents of critically ill 11-month-old baby Charlie Gard, mother Connie Yates, left, and father Chris Gard arrive at the High Court in London, Monday, July 24, 2017. | Matt Dunham, Associated Press
The Gard case has resonated with millions of people around the world, in part because it involves what seems to be the most basic of parental rights and responsibilities: the ability to make final decisions concerning the health and welfare of your minor children.
“We’ve had no control over our son’s life and no control over our son’s death,” the child’s mother, Connie Yates, said Thursday, the day before Charlie died in hospice.
Charlie’s plight also highlights a cultural shift that is occurring, as people emboldened by medical information on the internet are more likely to challenge their doctors than in generations past.
“My mother, who was perfectly willing to question people, never questioned the doctor because he was a doctor. That’s changed,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician, author and professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Challenging a doctor can be time-consuming and expensive….