Parents await decision on where medics should withdraw treatment from baby

Mr Justice Peel considered arguments about where critically ill Indi Gregory should receive end-of-life care at a High Court hearing on Tuesday.

Brian Farmer
Tuesday 07 November 2023 15:12 GMT
Baby Indi Gregory who has been at the centre of a court battle over life-support treatment (Family handout/PA)
Baby Indi Gregory who has been at the centre of a court battle over life-support treatment (Family handout/PA)

The parents of a critically ill baby who has been at the centre of a life-support treatment fight are waiting for a High Court judge’s ruling on issues relating to where she should receive end-of-life care.

Mr Justice Peel considered arguments about where eight-month-old Indi Gregory should be when specialists withdraw treatment at a private online hearing in the Family Division of the High Court on Tuesday.

The judge, who is based in London, said he aimed to deliver a ruling later this week.

Lawyers said options included a hospital, a hospice and Indi’s home.

The judge was told that Indi’s parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, who are in their 30s and from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, wanted treatment to be withdrawn at home.

Specialists treating Indi at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham said a hospital or hospice was a more appropriate setting for “extubation”.

They said she might be able to go home after extubation.

The judge has already ruled that specialists treating Indi can lawfully limit treatment, after concluding that such a move would be in Indi’s best interests.

Indi’s parents want treatment to continue.

But they have failed to persuade Court of Appeal judges and judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, to overturn Mr Justice Peel’s treatment decision.

Mr Justice Peel ruled that a move to Italy would not be in Indi’s best interests and Court of Appeal judges backed that decision.

Judges have heard that Indi, who was born on February 24, has mitochondrial disease – a genetic condition that saps energy.

Specialists say she is dying and bosses at the hospital asked for a ruling that doctors could lawfully limit treatment.

Medics say the treatment Indi receives causes pain and is futile.

Her parents disagree.

Mr Justice Peel has considered evidence at private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He has allowed journalists to attend and said Indi could be identified in reports.

The Italian government recently intervened in Indi’s case by granting her Italian citizenship.

That move came after Indi’s parents failed in their bid to move her to a Rome hospital.

Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni vowed to do what she could to “defend” Indi’s life.

No issues relating to Italy were raised at Tuesday’s hearing.

Five years ago, a 23-month-old boy at the centre of another life-support treatment case was also granted Italian citizenship.

Another High Court judge had earlier ruled that treatment withdrawal was in Alfie Evans’ best interests.

Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, who lived in Liverpool, said an Italian government representative wanted to intervene and asked Mr Justice Hayden to give them more time.

They said there was an “international relations element” to the case.

But lawyers representing hospital bosses responsible for Alfie’s care said any granting of Italian citizenship made no difference.

They said there could be “no possible suggestion” that English courts did not have jurisdiction.

A barrister who represented Alfie, and took instructions from a court-appointed guardian, agreed.

Mr Justice Hayden dismissed Alfie’s parents’ “last-ditch appeal” and told a hearing: “Alfie is a British citizen; he is undoubtedly habitually resident in the UK. He falls, therefore, under the jurisdiction of the High Court.”

Alfie died a few days later after life-support treatment was withdrawn.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in