The case of Charlie Gard has reached its sad conclusion. However, it continues to attract intense public attention. It raises a number of challenging and important ethical questions.
The role of Practical Ethics in cases like this is to help clarify the key concepts, identify central ethical questions, separate them from questions of scientific fact and subject arguments to critical scrutiny. We have disagreed about the right course of action for Charlie Gard, but agree on the role of ethical analysis and the importance of robust and informed debate. Ethics is not about personal opinion – but about argument, reasons, and rational reflection.
We have collected together below some of the materials on the Charlie Gard case that we and others have written as well as some relevant resources from our earlier work. We will update this page as more material becomes available. (*Updated 4/8/17)
Legal material on the case
Summary of Case
Papers on the Charlie Gard Case
Relevant background material
- Wilkinson D. Futility. The International Encyclopaedia of ethics (forthcoming)
- Les Halpin, Julian Savulescu, Kevin Talbot, Martin Turner and Paul Talman. Access to medicines: empowering patients in the quest to improve treatment for lethal diseases. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2015
- Larcher V, Craig F, Bhogal K, Wilkinson D, Brierley J on behalf of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Making decisions to limit treatment in life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in children: a framework for practice. Arch Dis Child 2015 100(Suppl 2):s1–s26. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2014-306666
- Wilkinson D, Truog R, Savulescu J. In favour of medical dissensus. Why we should agree to disagree about end of life decisions. Bioethics 2016 Feb;30(2):109-18. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12162
- McDougall RJ, Notini L Overriding parents’ medical decisions for their children: a systematic review of normative literature Journal of Medical Ethics 2014;40:448-452.
- Wilkinson D. Death or Disability? The Carmentis machine and decisions for critically ill children. Oxford University Press 2013.
- Wilkinson DJ, Savulescu J. Knowing when to stop: futility in the intensive care unit. Curr Op Anesthesiol 2011 doi: 10.1097/ACO.0b013e328343c5af
- Thiagarajan, M., Savulescu, J., Skene, L. (2007). ‘Deciding about life support: A perspective on the ethical and legal framework in the United Kingdom and Australia’. Journal of Law and Medicine. 14: 583.
- Savulescu J. (2002). ‘How do we choose which life to save? Equality of Access or a Fair Go?’. Current Paediatrics. 12(6):487-492 (December).
- Savulescu, J. and Kahane, G. (2009). ‘Brain-Damage and the Moral Significance of Consciousness’. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 34(1): pp 6-26. doi:10.1093/jmp/jhn038
Other ethics commentators