A High Court judge in the United Kingdom has ruled to remove life support from a 7-month-old baby, a decision that contradicts her parents' desire to keep their daughter alive.
Indi Gregory, the baby at the center of this legal battle, is the daughter of Claire Staniforth and Dean Gregory from Derbyshire, said the rights group Christian Concern, whose legal arm Christian Legal Centre is supporting the parents as they plan to appeal.
The baby girl is fighting a rare mitochondrial disease and is under treatment at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, the group said, adding that her parents and elder sisters are standing vigil at the hospital.
The Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust argued at a private High Court hearing that discontinuing life support is in the baby’s “best interests” should her condition worsen.
Dean Gregory, Indi’s father, expressed his dismay at the judge’s decision. “We are devastated by the judge’s ruling and will be appealing. … It feels like the Trust has been given the permission they were after to legally proceed with a death sentence for Indi,” he said in a statement.
He further criticized the portrayal of Indi’s medical condition during the trial. “That picture was so misleading that, after hearing their evidence in court, the media reported that Indi had to be resuscitated nine times in one day. This is completely untrue,” Gregory said.
According to him, Indi is a fighter who deserves better care from the NHS. “During her short life Indi has proved everybody wrong and deserves more time and care from the NHS rather than seeking to end her life as soon as possible,” he continued.
Gregory added that the legal struggle has been overwhelming. “It is criminal that parents who are trying to do everything for their child in such difficult circumstances are taken to court and have to contend with the weight of the whole system coming against them,” he said.
The father emphasized that his daughter can still experience joy. “Indi can definitely experience happiness. She cries like a normal baby. We just want to give her a chance.”
CLC’s Chief Executive Andrea Williams said, “Life is precious and to be protected in law. We must give people every chance to live rather than end their lives prematurely by saying it’s in their best interests to die.”
Earlier this month, the parents were informed with only 48 hours’ notice of a legal hearing that would determine Indi’s fate.
The family had been pressured to abort Indi multiple times before her birth, Gregory said earlier.
Another family in the U.K. went through what Claire and Dean are going through.
They are struggling with a legal muzzle even after the death of their daughter, whose identity and case details were suppressed for over a year. Court orders recently only partially lifted the veil but maintained restrictions.
A judge earlier this month identified the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust as the healthcare body responsible for the late 19-year-old Sudiksha Thirumalesh’s care, Christian Concern announced.
Sudiksha’s case also involved a genetic mitochondrial disease, which left her fighting for her life but fully conscious. Before her death on Sept. 12, she could not share her story publicly or raise funds for experimental treatment abroad because of a gag order that shielded the identities of the hospital, NHS Trust and her own family.
The family said Sudiksha had full mental capacity until her death, disputing a judgment from High Court Justice Jennifer Roberts that she didn’t have the capacity to make life-or-death decisions after NHS lawyers argued that she was “delusional.”