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

6 November 2023, 20:38

Indi Gregory
Indi Gregory. Picture: Family handout

By Christian Oliver

A critically ill British baby has been granted Italian citizenship and can now be moved to a Rome hospital to receive specialist treatment.

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Indi Gregory has several medical problems including mitochondrial disease, an incurable genetic condition, as well as a hole in her heart.

The eight-month-old is being treated at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. A judge previously ruled that the Nottingham hospital could withdraw life support, with doctors claiming her treatment is futile and causes her pain.

The Italian government has now made Indi a citizen, supporting her parents Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth’s plea to take her to Rome for specialist treatment.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she would protect the eight-month-old’s life until the end.

Meloni wrote on X, formerly Twitter: ”They say there isn't much hope for little Indi, but I will do everything in my power to defend her life until the end.

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Indi Gregory
Indi Gregory. Picture: Family handout

"And to defend her mother and father's right to do everything they can for her."

The Nottingham Hospital said they could do no more for the infant who they said was dying. They told the court treatment was futile and painful for her.

It comes after a court last week ruled against Indi being moved to Italy. The family then had their challenge to the High Court dismissed on Sunday.

A protest was also held outside the Nottingham hospital over the weekend.

An Italian government official told Reuters that the family would now be able to appeal to the Italian consulate in the UK to request that their daughter be moved to Italy. However, the UK would not be obligated to approve the request.

"My heart fills up with joy that the Italians have given Claire and I hope and faith back in humanity,” Mr Gregory said.

Indi Gregory with her mother Claire Staniforth
Indi Gregory with her mother Claire Staniforth. Picture: Family handout

Ruling last week, Mr Justice Peel said: “I am satisfied that the proposal for a transfer to Rome would not be in (Indi’s) best interests. In my judgment, there is no material change of circumstances, or other compelling reason, to justify reconsideration of my original order. The application is dismissed.”

Mr Gregory and Ms Staniforth are continuing to challenge the ruling in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

"We wanted to take this offer because the only alternative offered by the Trust is Indi’s death," Mr Gregory said last week.

"The expert medical opinions presented a way of treating Indi which they say is likely to save her life and make her better, yet the Trust has angrily refused to consider it.

"Mr Justice Peel has simply rubber stamped the Trust's position. Claire and I want to give our daughter every chance to survive and to improve, and it is very disturbing that Indi’s current treating clinicians will not cooperate with the air ambulance specialists.

“We have been given a real chance by the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital which we want to take for our daughter. 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.

Dean Gregory
Dean Gregory. Picture: Alamy

"The offer from Italy is the only offer of treatment that we have, and as Indi’s parents, we are prepared to take a risk to make that happen.

"Given that the medical evidence suggests she has a reasonable chance to survive and to improve, we believe it is in her best interests to be given that chance. We continue to be horrified at the Trust and UK courts' refusal to give her that chance.”

Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Dr Keith Girling, said last week: "Cases like this are incredibly difficult for everyone and our thoughts are with Indi's parents at this time. "Our priority remains to provide the best possible care for Indi and to support her parents through this process."

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