Indi Gregory: Critically ill baby can be moved to Rome for treatment after being granted Italian citizenship

The eight-month-old infant suffers from mitochondrial disease which is incurable

Holly Evans
Tuesday 07 November 2023 07:52 GMT
Indi Gregory has been granted Italian citizenship to receive treatment (Family handout/GoFundMe/PA)
Indi Gregory has been granted Italian citizenship to receive treatment (Family handout/GoFundMe/PA) (PA Media)

A critically ill British baby has been granted Italian citizenship and can now be moved to a hospital in Rome to receive life-support treatment, despite the High Court blocking the move.

Eight-month-old Indi Gregory, who is suffering from mitochondrial disease, has been at the centre of a legal battle with doctors arguing it is no longer in her best interests to continue life-support measures.

Since being born in February, she had been receiving treatment at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham for the incurable genetic condition that prevents cells in the body from producing energy.

Claire Staniforth and Dean Gregory lost a recent appeal to move their daughter Indi to Italy (Family Handout/PA) (PA Media)

Her parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, had failed to persuade Court of Appeal judges in London and judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, to overturn the decision to lawfully limit treatment.

On Saturday, the couple lost an appeal to overturn a ruling by Mr Justice Peel, who concluded that it would not be in Indi’s best interests to travel to Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Italy to receive treatment.

However, an urgent meeting with the Italian Council of Ministers have agreed to grant the infant Italian citizenship.

“My heart fills up with joy that the Italians have given Claire and I hope and faith back in humanity. The Italians have shown us care and loving support and I wish the UK authorities were the same,” Mr Gregory said.

“I’m very proud to say Indi has Italian citizenship and I thank the Italian government and the Italian people from the bottom of my heart.”

Indi Gregory had mitochondrial disease, a genetic condition that saps energy (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)

Simone Pillon, an Italian-based lawyer representing the family, said on X: “A huge thank you to the Italian government, to the president Giorgia Meloni, to all the ministers and to the entire Italian people on behalf of the family members of Indi Gregory.

“Now working to remove the remaining obstacles and bring her to Rome soon.”

Indi’s parents will now be able appeal to the Italian consulate in Britain to ask that she be transferred to Italy, with an Italian government source adding however that there was no obligation for Britain to grant the request.

According to Christian Legal Centre a group that represents the parents, the Italian government has offered to cover the costs of treatment at the Bambino Gesu, a Vatican-run facility near St Peter’s.

“Even if the transfer to Italy involves some risk, the only alternative we have been offered in the UK is to go along with Indi’s death. There is nothing to lose for us or for Indi,” the group quoted Indi’s father as saying.

Lawyers for the NHS Trust in Nottingham have argued that Indi is dying and that her treatment is futile and causing her pain.

In the latest appeal launched by her parents, they resisted plans to move her to Italy, with a court hearing that the treatment offered in Rome would not change the outcome for her and her family.

On Thursday, a judge denied the application to move her to Rome, while an appeal against the High Court ruling was rejected on Saturday.

Doctors told the court that Indi is dying (Handout/GoFundMe/PA) (PA Media)

In the most written ruling, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson said the appeal would have “no chance of success”.

“Indeed we have reached the clear view that after reading all the evidence and arguments that the decision was sadly inevitable and right, and that it was reached with the degree of care that is always appropriate in such a serious matter,” they said.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It is very concerning that a child can be held against the parents’ wishes when they have alternative treatment available.

“Transferring Indi to Italy involves no cost to the taxpayer or the NHS. What is it at the heart of this case that is preventing Queen’s Medical Centre from allowing Indi to be transferred to Rome?”

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