Parents of critically ill baby await ruling on life-support treatment fight

Mr Justice Peel heard evidence about seven-month-old Indi Gregory’s condition at a private trial in the Family Division of the High Court.

Brian Farmer
Monday 09 October 2023 19:20 BST
Indi Gregory (Family Handout/GoFundMe/PA)
Indi Gregory (Family Handout/GoFundMe/PA) (PA Media)

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Louise Thomas

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The parents of a critically ill baby at the centre of a High Court life-support treatment fight are waiting for a judge’s ruling.

Mr Justice Peel heard evidence about seven-month-old Indi Gregory’s condition at a private trial in the Family Division of the High Court, at the Royal Courts of Justice complex, in London on Monday.

He said he aimed to deliver a ruling in the near future.

The judge heard how Indi had mitochondrial disease, a genetic condition which saps energy, and was being treated at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Specialists say she is dying and the hospital’s governing trust wants Mr Justice Peel to rule that doctors can lawfully limit treatment.

Indi’s parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, who are both in their 30s and from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, want life-support treatment to continue.

Barrister Emma Sutton KC, who led Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s legal team, told the judge that Indi was “critically” ill and had  an “exceptionally” rare and  “devastating” neurometabolic disorder.

She said the treatment Indi received caused pain and was futile.

Indi is dying

Emma Sutton KC

“Indi is dying,” Ms Sutton told the judge.

“We cannot get away from that fact as sensitive as it may be. All realistic options have been exhausted.”

She said nurses were “watching Indi suffer” and added: “This has been looked at nationally, it has been looked at internationally.

“Sadly, the conclusions are that nothing further can be done.”

Mr Gregory told Mr Justice Peel that his daughter had “proved everyone wrong” and needed “more time”.

“We are there every day,” he told the judge.

“If I thought she was in pain, I would not be here arguing.”

She has proved everyone wrong. I think she needs more time

Dean Gregory

But he told the judge: “You have only got one life. You have to go through a little bit of pain to carry on with that life.”

He went on: “She has proved everyone wrong. I think she needs more time.”

Mr Gregory said being “threatened with court” was “just evil”.

He added: “It just felt like I am just being dragged through hell.”

Mr Justice Peel considered evidence behind closed doors but has allowed journalists to attend the hearing and ruled that Indi, her parents, and the hospital can be named in reports.

He ruled that medics treating Indi, and a guardian appointed to represent her interests, could not be named.

Indi’s parents are being supported by campaign group the Christian Legal Centre.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said outside court: “Life is the most precious gift we have and in her first six months of life Indi has shown no signs of wanting to give up on that gift.

“A truly compassionate society that cares for the most vulnerable in society just doesn’t do this.

“We recognise the courage shown by Dean to stand up in court without a lawyer and defend the life of his child with the weight of the system stacked against him.

“We are pleased now to be supporting the family who will do all they can to contend for her life.”

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