Critically ill baby at centre of a further High Court hearing

Indi Gregory’s parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, want to move her to a hospital in Rome after losing treatment fights in London.

Brian Farmer
Tuesday 31 October 2023 15:46 GMT
Baby Indi Gregory is at the centre of a High Court hearing over her life-support treatment (Family handout/PA)
Baby Indi Gregory is at the centre of a High Court hearing over her life-support treatment (Family handout/PA)

The parents of a critically ill baby have begun another round in a life-support treatment fight.

A High Court judge recently ruled that doctors treating Indi Gregory at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, could lawfully limit treatment.

Indi’s parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, failed to persuade Court of Appeal judges in London, and judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, to overturn that decision by Mr Justice Peel.

But the couple, who are both in their 30s and from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, say an Italian hospital has now offered to treat Indi.

Lawyers representing them on Tuesday asked Mr Justice Peel to allow Indi to be moved to Italy.

The judge was told that the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Rome had agreed to accept the little girl.

Lawyers said there had been a “material” change of circumstances, since he ruled that doctors could limit treatment, and Indi had a chance of a “longer life”.

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

Specialists say Indi is dying and hospital bosses where she is being cared for asked him to rule that doctors could lawfully limit treatment.

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

Her parents disagree and want treatment to continue.

Mr Justice Peel heard arguments in a private hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice complex, but allowed journalists to attend and said Indi could be identified in reports.

Lawyers representing bosses at the Nottingham hospital where Indi is being treated said Indi’s parents’ application should be dismissed.

Barrister Louis Browne KC, who led Indi’s parents legal team, told Mr Justice Peel, in a written case outline, that the Nottingham hospital’s governing trust was refusing to cooperate with a transfer.

He said that refusal raised concerns.

“The concerns arise because the court has made no order obliging Indi to be treated by the trust or restricting her right to move … as such the trust has no lawful power to detain Indi nor to refuse to cooperate in her transfer to a new hospital,” he said.

“The court is respectfully asked to make the order sought so that Indi can move her medical care a new hospital, who whilst putting her best interests first, is prepared to treat her… ”

Barrister Scott Matthewson, who represented the Nottingham hospital’s governing trust, said Indi’s parents’ application should be dismissed.

“This is a desperately sad case. Indi’s family understandably want to do all that they possibly can to achieve what they believe to be in her best interests,” he said, in a written argument.

“However, there is no tangible plan before the court to enable it to make any sensible decision as to how transfer to Italy could be managed safely or why palliative treatment in a different location is in Indi’s best interests.

“More fundamentally, the best interests decision has already been made and there is no compelling new evidence sufficient to undermine the court’s previous careful analysis.”

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