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Judge’s Ruling Denies Parents Possibility of Hope for Critically Ill Baby

Indi Gregory.

A High Court judge has upheld an earlier ruling, denying the parents of a critically ill baby the right to move her to a hospital in Rome for treatment. Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, both in their 30s from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, have been fighting to transfer their eight-month-old daughter Indi to the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Rome, citing a “material” change of circumstances since the initial ruling. The parents, who are being supported by the Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, argue that an Italian hospital has now offered to treat Indi and that there is a chance of her having a longer life.

Indi has mitochondrial disease, a genetic condition that saps energy, and is dying, according to doctors. Specialists at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where Indi is being cared for, argue that the treatment she receives causes pain and is futile, and therefore do not support the transfer. The parents disagree, citing alternative treatment available in Italy. They believe that transferring Indi to Rome involves no cost to the taxpayer or the NHS.

In their appeal, the parents argued that the doctor’s decision to limit treatment was not in Indi’s best interests. However, the Court of Appeal judges, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson, refused to overturn the initial ruling, concluding that the parents did not have an arguable case and that the decision to limit treatment was not wrong or unfair. The judges also stated that there was no compelling reason for an appeal hearing.

Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth

The parents had previously failed to persuade the European Court of Human Rights to overturn the decision. The Christian Legal Centre has expressed concern about the precedent set by the case, stating that the law is there to protect life and the most vulnerable in society. The organisation is calling for reform, questioning why the Queen’s Medical Centre is preventing Indi’s transfer to Rome. With the parents’ appeal bid denied, it remains to be seen what their next move will be.

As the dispute continues, Indi’s fate remains uncertain. Her parents are faced with the difficult decision of whether to accept the current treatment plan or continue to fight for a chance at a longer life for their daughter. The case highlights the complexities of medical ethics and the delicate balance between a patient’s quality of life and the best interests of society.

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