By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. Just received news of a depressing decision by the UK Court of Appeals. The three justices turned down the request of parents Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth to be allowed to take their critically ill 8-month-old daughter Indi Gregory off of life support at home.
“The grounds of appeal are entirely without merit,” Lord Justice Peter Jackson said, delivering the ruling in a remote hearing on Friday.
“(Indi’s mother) Claire and I are again disgusted by another one-sided decision from the judges,” Gregory, said, in a statement provided by Christian Concern, a group supporting the family.
“This feels like the latest kick in the teeth, and we will not give up fighting for our daughter’s chance to live until the end,” he added.
Indi Gregory suffers “from a rare mitochondrial disease which means that her cells do not produce enough energy and has been on full life support since early September,” reported Kylie MacLellan for Reuters. “Her doctors say she suffers from significant pain and distress and there is no point in continuing treatment. On Wednesday, a judge ruled her life support should be removed, either in hospital or at a hospice.”
The parents fought back, “saying she should be allowed to have treatment removed at home, something the court had ruled was no longer possible due to the deterioration in her condition since that option had been previously discussed,“ according to MacLellan.
The ultimate decision may have come today but it was foreshadowed last month when England’s High Court ruled that it was in the baby’s “best interests” to be taken off life support.
They also refused
a request from her parents to be allowed to take her to the Vatican’s children’s hospital in Rome.
Earlier this week the Italian government granted her citizenship in a further move aimed at preventing doctors from taking her off life support and allowing her to be moved to Italy.
Jackson said on Friday the idea that the Italian authorities were better able to determine the baby’s interests was “wholly misconceived” and that although not the subject of Friday’s appeal, Gregory’s father had accepted that decisions about her treatment would be made by UK courts.
Indi’s parents tried everything, even an unsuccessful appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
The trial judge was Mr. Justice Peel. On Wednesday Justice Peel ruled against the parents of Indi, concluding that withdrawing treatment at home would be “too dangerous,” Brian Farmer reported.
“Specialists” say treatment “should be withdrawn in a hospice or hospital,” a recommendation embraced by Justice Peel.
The parents’ last ditch appeal was heard today by three Court of Appeal judges at an online hearing. There was debate about what exactly Judge Peel had said to the parents.
Barrister Bruno Quintavalle, who represented Mr. Gregory at the appeal hearing, told Lady Justice King, Lord Justice Moylan and Lord Justice Peter Jackson that Mr. Justice Peel had originally made an order saying Indi’s parents could decide whether “extubation” would take place at home, in a hospital or in a hospice.
He said, in a written case outline, that Mr. Justice Peel had “amended” that order. “The effect of the amendment is to remove the parents’ right to take Indi home for extubation,” Mr. Quintavalle told the three appeal judges.
“The option of a transfer to home for extubation had been one of the options offered to the family by the doctors, then chosen by the family.”
Mr. Quintavalle told appeal judges on Friday: “While the original substantive dispute is now over, this new decision comes as an equally devastating blow to the parents.”