My Great Ormond Street colleagues and I did what we thought to be in Charlies best interests. We do not deserve abuse
Over the last few months, Charlie Gards case attracted worldwide attention and divided opinion among politicians, religious leaders and health care specialists.
The only voices not heard so far are those of their employees at the intensive care unit at Great Ormond Street hospital (Gosh), some of whom received death threats.
Here, one of the team engaged in Charlies care describes the agony of looking after a child with his rare illness. On the one hand, attempting to help a family desperate to rescue their only child; the demand for the hospital to do what it considered to be in his best interests, on the other.
Ive been part of a team of 200 nurses, doctors and advisers who cared for Charlie Gard, not just doing all the medical interventions he required but also washing him, cuddling him, propping up his possessions around his cot.
I understand everybody working in intensive care would agree with me when I say that each child who comes through this unit is loved, but there are a few who take a bit of your heart with them when they depart.
Some who have wonderful parents, some who have sad stories, some who you work so difficult to save that when you cant, it hurts your soul a little bit.
Its not only our job; its reason for being to keep these children alive, to give them back to their parents with as great a quality of life as possible.
Breaks are missed by us, we stay late, we spend our days so that we can be better at what we do, off analyzing and exploring. We cry on the tube when weren’t winning. We dream of nothing else.
Have you ever really met physician or a nurse who wants a child to die?
We didnt want to lose Charlie, and we didnt want his mum and dad to be without him, but its our job to stand up for him and say when we think that enough is enough.
There are few individuals in the world who are injured by doing this than someone who has chosen to work in intensive care; its fighting, but sometimes its just not the right thing to do any more.
My colleagues and I worked our hardest, tried everything, fought hard but there was nowhere else to go. It was obvious to all those people who treated him.
He was given fluids and drugs by us, we did everything that we can, despite the fact that we thought that he should be allowed to slip away in his parents arms, peacefully, adored.
We didnt do this for Charlie. We didnt even get it done for dad and his mum.
We did this for Donald Trump, the pope and Boris Johnson, who suddenly understood more compared to our specialist consultants about diseases.
And we did it for the keyboard warriors who thought it was OK to write about the evil medical team at Great Ormond Street, even though we were still there next to Charlie, caring for him as best we could, as we had.
We did it with every fibre of our being telling us that it had been incorrect, we should stop.
But we couldnt.
Portions of some members of the public and the media turned into a babys life into a hot issue.
This went too far, although like living in a bubble at the best of times, working at the intensive care unit is. I used to be proud to tell people I work here, but not today. My friends have asked me: Why are you trying to kill this child?
Thats not what we do at Gosh. Its not we go into care. It upset my colleagues Ive watched them be changed.
The situation has also had an effect on families here. Parents are nervous, they worry that we may not do the right thing for their child. That worry isn’t based on the care we are giving; its based on what you’ve been saying.
So the next time you feel like commenting on social media about how awful we are, please try to remember how hard we work to prevent children from dying every day; please try to remember that Charlies parents read these comments; please try to remember Charlie, who chose none of this.
You have contributed to the familys pain, you’ve been fighting with . Its not been helpful to anybody.
You may forget about Charlie, youll carry on with your life. His parents will live with this for ever. They will go over and over if they made the choices that are right for their beautiful baby, whether they were powerful enough to make those decisions amid the fury of you watching a drama unfold from behind your display.
The parents pain will be unimaginable, their reduction incomparable and immeasurable.
But we’ll live with this for ever.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us