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President Trump, Pope Francis offer to help terminally ill baby

Charlie Gard appeal
Trump, Pope Francis offer to help terminally ill baby in Britain 02:02

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. -- President Trump offered to help a terminally ill British baby on Monday, saying on Twitter that "if we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so."

The child, 10-month-old Charlie Gard, suffers from a rare genetic condition and is unable to breathe unaided. He also can't see, hear, move or cry, and is thought to be one of only 16 children in the world with this condition, CBS News' Charlie D'Agata reports.

Last week, his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, lost a legal battle to take him to the U.S. for experimental therapy. His parents and a London children's hospital said Friday that the boy will be given "more time" before life support is withdrawn.

White House spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferre said that members of the Trump administration have spoken to Gard's family.

"Although the president himself has not spoken to the family, he does not want to pressure them in any way, members of the administration have spoken to the family in calls facilitated by the British government. The president is just trying to be helpful if at all possible," she said, calling the situation "heartbreaking."

There is little Mr. Trump can do to help, because U.K. and European courts have deferred to the hospital's decision not to allow Charlie to be sent to the U.S. for experimental therapy.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is being treated, say there is no cure and the child has no chance of survival, the BBC reported. The condition is called mitochondrial depletion syndrome which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

Pope Francis, President Trump offer support to family of terminally ill child Charlie Gard 01:31

Last Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Charlie's parents and agreed with the hospital that further treatment would "continue to cause Charlie significant harm."

According to the BBC, the court said further treatment would result in Charlie "being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress" and undergoing experimental treatment with "no prospects of success... would offer no benefit."

Pope Francis on Sunday called for Gard's parents to be allowed to do everything possible to treat their child.

In a statement, the Vatican press office said Francis "is following with affection and sadness the case of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents. For this he prays that their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end is not neglected."

With their legal appeals exhausted, the family says they're slowly getting ready to say goodbye to their son.

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