US Congress grants 11-month-old Charlie Gard permanent citizenship to receive care overseas

Alyssa Rege - Print  | 

The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations approved an amendment July 19 granting 11-month-old Charlie Gard and his parents permanent U.S. citizenship so that he may receive treatment in the U.S., The Hill reports.

In an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, Charlie and his parents would be eligible to receive an immigrant visa or "an adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence upon filing an application for issuance of an immigrant visa," according to a BBC report.

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., both tweeted confirmation of the amendment Wednesday.

The news comes after Charlie's parents lost their latest legal attempt July 18 to have Charlie undergo an electroencephalogram scan prior to their meeting with several specialists the same day, the BBC reports.

Charlie's parents and physicians at London-based Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children disagreed on the length of time the scan should be administered. While his parents stipulated the scan should be carried out for "no longer than 30 minutes," Charlie's physicians said the scan "would have to be carried out for at least four hours in order to generate useful data," the report states. A judge ruled in favor of the physicians, stating the scan should "be of such duration [as treating clinicians] may advise."

U.S. physician Michio Hirano, MD, chief of the division of neuromuscular disorders and director of the H. Houston Merritt Clinical Research Center at New York City-based Columbia University Medical Center, flew to London July 17 to examine Charlie and meet with GOSHC clinicians. He, along with a second physician and Charlie's mother, met with GOSHC experts July 18 in a meeting which lasted more than five hours. The second physician's identity was not disclosed, the BBC reports.

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