Terminally ill British infant Indi Gregory has been given more time to live after a court on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, gave her family permission to appeal a judge’s decision mandating where her life support can be removed. / Credit: Christian Concern
CNA Staff, Nov 9, 2023 / 14:16 pm (CNA).
A terminally ill British infant has been given more time to live after a court on Thursday gave her family permission to appeal a judge’s decision mandating where her life support can be removed.
According to a Christian advocacy group, the courts may also consider the possibility of allowing the family to take the child to Italy for treatment at a Vatican-run hospital.
Indi Gregory, born in February, suffers from a rare degenerative mitochondrial disease and has been receiving life-sustaining treatment on a ventilator at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, England.
The British advocacy group Christian Concern reported Thursday that the family’s appeal will be heard remotely Nov. 10 at noon by the Court of Appeal, which is the second-highest court in the U.K. Gregory’s life support will not be removed until the hearing is over or further instructions are given by the court, the group said.
“To date there has been no response or comment from the U.K. government on the case,” the group added.
Justice Robert Peel had ruled on Wednesday, following a Nov. 7 “urgent online hearing,” that Gregory’s life support must be removed at 2 p.m. local time on Nov. 9, contrary to the wishes of her parents and over and against Italy’s attempts to treat the child.
Furthermore, the judge’s order stated that the life support must be removed at the hospital or at a hospice and not at the child’s home, citing a need for “clinical treatment of the highest quality, carried out in a safe and sustainable setting,” the BBC reported.
Gregory’s parents have repeatedly appealed to take her to Rome for treatment after England’s high court ruled that it was in the child’s “best interests” to be taken off life support. In an effort to save Gregory’s life, the Italian government decided in an emergency meeting on Monday to grant her Italian citizenship and to cover the cost of her medical treatment at the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital.
The Italian consul in Manchester, Dr. Matteo Corradini, in his capacity as guardianship judge for Gregory, issued an emergency measure Nov. 8 recognizing the authority of the Italian courts in this case. The measure authorizes the adoption of the Bambino Gesù’s specialist treatment plan and assumes protection of Gregory, appointing the Italian hospital’s general manager, Dr. Antonio Perno, as Gregory’s guardian. The order authorizes her immediate transfer to Bambino Gesù, Christian Concern reported.
Perno on Nov. 9 made an urgent application to the U.K. high court calling on Justice Peel to cede jurisdiction of the case to him under Article 9 of the 1996 Hague Convention, to which both the U.K. and Italy are parties.
“It is unclear how, or even if, the Court of Appeal will deal with this development at the hearing tomorrow as this is new territory in such a case,” Christian Concern said.
The Bambino Gesù, which is run by the Vatican, has offered to treat other terminally ill British infants in the past, such as Alfie Evans in 2018 and Charlie Gard in 2017, both of whom were ultimately denied the chance to travel to Italy by U.K. courts and died days after being removed from life support.
Gregory’s treatment at Bambino Gesù, should she be allowed to travel there, would be done at no cost to U.K. taxpayers.
“They say there isn’t much hope for little Indi, but until the very end, I’ll do what I can to defend her life, and to defend the right of her mamma and papa to do all that they can for her,” Italian President Giorgia Meloni wrote on social media on Nov. 6 after granting Gregory citizenship.
In response to the Italian government’s decision, the child’s father, Dean Gregory, said: “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 U.K. authorities were the same.”