US physician allegedly maintained financial stake in treating Charlie Gard

Officials at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London claim the U.S. physician who advocated for 11-month-old Charlie Gard to undergo an experimental treatment maintained a financial stake in the therapy.

In a statement following Chris Gard and Connie Yates' decision to take their son off of life support Monday, hospital officials said 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, admitted during court proceedings July 13 he "retain[ed] a financial interest in some of the NBT compounds he proposed prescribing for Charlie."

Dr. Hirano proposed Charlie undergo nucleoside bypass therapy, which he claimed had a small chance of improving some of Charlie's symptoms, CNN reports. Charlie was diagnosed with infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, an autosomal recessive disorder that causes a drop in an individual's mitochondrial DNA in affected tissues. There is no cure for the disease.

GOSHC officials said Dr. Hirano also admitted during court proceedings "not only had he not visited the hospital to examine Charlie … he had not read Charlie's contemporaneous medical records or viewed Charlie's brain imaging or read all of the second opinions about Charlie's condition … or even read the judge's [April 11] decision."

Charlie's parents returned to court July 25 seeking permission to allow their son to spend his final days at home instead of at the hospital. However, hospital officials said during the court proceedings the "invasive ventilation [Charlie] requires can only be provided in a hospital setting," Reuters reports.

More articles on hospital-physician relationships:
Nurses find 'at least 25' swastikas on walls of California hospital
Charlie Gard's parents end legal battle to allow son's treatment in US
USC initiates termination proceedings to fire former Keck medical school dean Dr. Carmen Puliafito after drug allegations

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