In a heartbreaking loss today, a UK appeals court has ruled that a hospital can remove a newborn baby girl’s life support without her parents’ consent.
As LifeNews has reported, a Vatican hospital has stepped up and agreed to provide care for 8-month-old baby Indi Gregory, where a British court ruled her life support could be revoked even though her parents are fighting for her life.
But that was not enough for the parents of this little girl to get a British appellate court to rule in their favor.
Indi suffers from a rare degenerative mitochondrial disease and has been receiving life-sustaining treatment on a ventilator at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, England. But because doctors have given up hope there is now a legal feud between them, their desire to remove her from life support and her parents’ desire to continue medical treatment.
A judge previously ruled that it was in the child’s “best interests” to be taken off life support. Indi’s parents appealed the ruling but today the UK Court of Appeal dismissed their challenge in a remote hearing on Friday.
“The grounds of appeal are entirely without merit,” Lord Justice Peter Jackson said, delivering the ruling. “Although this is a legal decision, it is taken with a full awareness of the deeply sensitive question that lies at the heart of the proceedings.”
Jackson said the stay has now expired and Indi’s life support will be removed Monday.
Indi’s father condemned the ruling.
Dean Gregory, said: “Claire and I are again disgusted by another one-sided decision from the judges and the Trust. The whole world is watching and is shocked at how we have been treated.
“Claire and I have always wanted what is in Indi’s best interests. She has human rights and we wanted her to have the best treatment possible. If the UK did not want to fund it, why can she not go to Italy and receive the treatment and care which the amazing Italian Prime Minister and government has offered.
“This feels like the latest kick in the teeth, and we will not give up fighting for our daughter’s chance to live until the end.”
The pro-life legal group Christian Concern, which is representing the Gregory family, also condemned the ruling.
“The ruling was made despite Indi being granted Italian citizenship and yesterday her Italian guardian making an urgent application to UK High Court calling on Mr Justice Robert Peel to cede jurisdiction of the case to him under Article 9§2 of the 1996 Hague Convention,” it told LifeNews.
The group is still holding out hope for helping Indi.
“It has also been revealed this afternoon that the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has urgently written to the UK’s Lord Chancellor calling for the two countries to officially collaborate on facilitating Indi’s transfer to Rome under the Hague Convention,” it said.
Prime Minister Meloni has written to the Rt. Hon Alex Chalk outlining the urgent application made by Indi’s Italian guardian yesterday to the UK High Court.
The application called on Mr Justice Robert Peel to cede jurisdiction of the case to the Italian guardian under Article 9§2 of the 1996 Hague Convention.
The Italian consul in Manchester, Dr Matteo Corradini, in his capacity as guardianship judge for the 8-month-old, made the order which has immediate effectiveness due to the imminent danger to the life of Indi.
The urgent application by the Italian guardian followed Indi being made an Italian citizen earlier this week and her Italian guardian issuing an emergency measure recognising the authority of the Italian courts in this case.
The Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital in Rome has agreed to accept Indi for treatment and to carry out the right ventricular outflow tract stent procedure that has been put forward by medical experts. The Italian government has offered to fund the treatment at no cost to the NHS or UK taxpayer.
Despite today’s ruling and remarks from the Court of Appeal judges, it is still unclear how the UK Courts will officially respond to the application made by Indi’s Italian guardian.
“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.”
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.”
Christian Concern has published a letter from the president of the Bambino Gesù hospital outlining “a detailed treatment plan” for the child, which includes “life-sustaining treatment and palliative care to ensure Indi’s survival and comfort while the treatments take effect.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre supporting the Gregorys’ case, has noted that this is believed to be the first time that a parent’s appeal against an order to withdraw life-sustaining treatment has been rejected by the Court of Appeal without a hearing.
“The law is there to protect life and the most vulnerable in our society. What is happening in this case sets a very worrying precedent with regard to that principle,” Williams said.
“It is very concerning that a child can be held against the parents’ wishes when they have alternative treatment available.”
Leading pro-life advocate Lila Rose says there is no reason to revoke medical care from Indi.
“Children have survived for years with this condition. Indi requires breathing support from a ventilator, but despite her condition, her parents say she is happy & responds to their touch,” she said.
“Experts at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome have outlined a detailed treatment plan for Indi. They believe her breathing problems are caused by a treatable heart condition, known as Tetralogy of Fallo, rather than from her mitochondrial disease,” she added. “The condition could be fixed without surgery by inserting a right ventricular outflow tract stent Experts say the treatment would “more likely than not” enable Indi to survive without artificial ventilation. The Italian government agreed to cover the total cost.”
“When presented with this new information, the British government still refused to let Indi travel to Rome and set a date for her breathing support to be removed, which would cause Indi to suffocate to death The Italian government has even granted Indi citizenship so she can appeal once again for transport to Rome for treatment,” Rose said.
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