This afternoon, Mr Justice Robert Peel has ruled that Indi Gregory’s life-support must be removed at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham or a hospice and not at home, contrary to the wishes of her parents.
Mr Justice Peel has said that life-support will be removed from 2pm tomorrow (9 November). The family, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, will appeal.
In the lead up to the ruling, however, NHS bosses threatened to remove life support today, without family members present, despite the mistake in the draft judgment being raised by the family’s lawyers.
Father, Dean Gregory, was not at the hospital at the time of the threat and said he felt like he was going to have a heart attack when he was informed.
The judgment has been made despite the Italian government dramatically granting Indi citizenship and issuing emergency measures authorising her to be transferred to the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital in Rome for specialist treatment.
Urgent online hearing
Yesterday, (7 November) Mr Justice Peel held an urgent online hearing to resolve the dispute over where life-support would be removed.
With domestic legal remedies exhausted and the legal stay expiring, NHS bosses had threatened on Monday to end Indi’s life-support at the hospital.
This would have gone against a Court-approved care plan which said that the decision should be down to the parents.
The Compassionate Care Plan prepared by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said:
“Parents should be supported to decide where compassionate care would be best delivered. Options include a hospice, the hospital, or home. Each of these options has benefits, and planning would be specific to her location.”
Furthermore in his High Court judgment of 13 October, Mr Justice Peel also stated at paragraph 44 that the implementation of the Order and the Care Plan: “can take place at home or at a hospice, as the parents may elect.”
Indi’s parents had asked for extubating to take place at home, but clinicians had refused.
Mr Justice Peel has made the two previous High Court judgments which blocked Indi’s transfer to Italy for specialist treatment and ruled that it is in her ‘best interests’ to die.
Italian Prime Minister: ‘I will do what I can to defend her life’
The latest ruling comes after last week the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital in Rome had agreed to accept Indi for treatment and to carry out the right ventricular outflow tract stent procedure that has been put forward by medical experts. The Italian government has offered to fund the treatment at no cost to the NHS or UK taxpayer.
NHS bosses and UK courts, however, have refused to allow the move or work on a risk-assessment with a specialist Air-Ambulance service. Instead, the UK courts have repeatedly rubber stamped the NHS position on the case and ruled that it is in Indi’s ‘best interests’ to die.
On Monday (6 Nov) the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, granted Indi Italian citizenship and released a statement saying: “They say there isn’t much hope for little Indi, but until the end I will do what I can to defend her life. And to defend her mum and dad’s right to do everything they can for her.”
Today the Italian consul in Manchester, Dr Matteo Corradini, in his capacity as guardianship judge for the 8-month-old, issued an emergency measure recognising the authority of the Italian courts in this case.
The measure issued assumes protection of Indi, and authorises the immediate transfer of Indi to the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital in Rome, which has offered the family specialist treatment at no cost to the NHS or UK taxpayer.
The measure also authorises the adoption of the Italian hospital’s specialist treatment plan and appointed its general manager, Dr Antonio Perno, as Indi’s guardian.
The Italian consul in Manchester has power under Italian law to operate as a judge and can issue emergency measures.
The Court Order has been communicated by the new guardian to the managing director of the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to facilitate constructive collaboration between the Italian and English health authorities in order to avoid legal questions over conflict of jurisdiction.
It is understood Dr Perno will request to meet with medics at the Queen’s Medical Centre urgently.
It is believed to be the first time that such a measure has been issued in an end-of-life case in the UK.
Dean Gregory, Indi’s father, said: “I have had to face repeated threats from the hospital trying to intimidate me and speed up Indi’s death, even when there are outstanding court orders in place. There does not appear to be any care or compassion, only cruelty towards us as a family.
“For the hospital and the UK Courts to simply ignore the offer from the Italian government is disgraceful.
“I appeal to the British government to allow Indi to come to Italy before it is too late. As a father I have never asked or begged for anything in my life, but I am now begging the British government to please help prevent our daughter’s life from being taken away.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said:
“What good reason can there be to detain Indi here against the wishes of her parents when treatment is being offered in Rome?
“The developments lay bare the difference in approach between two nations when the Italian Prime Minister has been public in her support of Indi Gregory and the right of her parents to access treatment in Rome and the British Prime Minister has remained silent.
“We are concerned that there has been no word from the British authorities since Indi was granted Italian citizenship and offered specialist treatment in Rome at no cost to the NHS or UK taxpayer. We ask for an urgent intervention to enable the right things to be done in this case.”
Find out more about Indi Gregory