A judge in the United Kingdom has ruled that an 8-month-old baby girl must be taken off life support despite her parents saying she is still responsive and wishing to bring her to Italy for additional care.
The parents of Indi Gregory, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, have filed an appeal to the order of Justice Robert Peel that Indi must be taken off life support at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham or a hospice on Thursday.
Doctors from Britain’s National Health Service have argued that treatment for Indi, who has a mitochondrial disease, should not continue, and Peel agreed, claiming that efforts to bring Indi to Italy for treatment would not be in her best interests. With mitochondrial disease, the body has trouble turning sugar into energy meaning that the body’s cells do not work as they should.
Peel said that Indi had “extremely limited quality of life” and was skeptical that treatments would improve her condition. Her parents say that she has responded positively to their touch and hope to try alternative treatments to help her fight the disease.
Indi has been given Italian citizenship and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said she would do all in her power to help Indi and her family.
“They say there isn’t much hope for little Indi, but until the very end, I’ll do what I can to defend her life. And to defend the right of her mamma and papa to do all that they can for her,” Meloni said.
“For the hospital and the UK Courts to simply ignore the offer from the Italian government is disgraceful,” father Dean Gregory said. “I appeal to the British government to allow Indi to come to Italy before it is too late. As a father I have never asked or begged for anything in my life, but I am now begging the British government to please help prevent our daughter’s life from being taken away.”
According to Christian Concern, the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital in Rome has said that it would take Indi in for treatment and attempt a right ventricular outflow tract stent procedure, a surgery that has been proposed that may help the young child. Italy’s government also said it would pay for the treatments.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, called out British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a member of the Conservative Party, for not speaking out in Indi’s defense.
“What good reason can there be to detain Indi here against the wishes of her parents when treatment is being offered in Rome,” Williams said. “The developments lay bare the difference in approach between two nations when the Italian Prime Minister has been public in her support of Indi Gregory and the right of her parents to access treatment in Rome and the British Prime Minister has remained silent.”
If Indi can’t be brought to Italy, her parents hope to bring her home for her final days, but Peel claimed that would be “dangerous” because of “the clinical complications.”
Parents in the U.K. have previously found themselves in battles for control over medical decisions for their children. In 2018, the parents of infant Alfie Evans also struggled to bring him to Italy only to have their efforts rebuffed by judges.