By McKenna Snow
In a heartbreaking interview with pro-life podcast hostess Lila Rose, Indi Gregory’s father Dean Gregory told of the shocking healthcare corruption his family experienced as they fought for Indi’s life.
Indi’s story gained international attention in November after a UK judge ordered her removed from life support against her parents’ wishes. Indi was eight months old and had been suffering from mitochondrial disease. The judge claimed that it was in Indi’s “best interests” to die.
Indi’s parents Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth had already begun to experience a lack of support from their doctors months before the ruling, her father said during his January 9 interview with Rose.
Indi’s parents found out they were pregnant with her at around nine weeks, Gregory said. Shortly after, an ultrasound showed that Indi’s heart might have a small hole, a condition called tetralogy of Fallot, Gregory explained. The next ultrasound scan found that Indi had fluid on her brain.
Rose asked what medical advice the couple was given as they learned of Indi’s health problems.
“We got offered an abortion at pretty much every scan,” Gregory replied. “We just couldn’t understand why. It didn’t matter to us if she had… fluid on the brain or the heart problem. So every time, we refused to have an abortion.”
“We’ve created a life, so to get rid of a life just because she isn’t fully healthy just [didn’t] seem right to me or to Claire,” Gregory continued. “You could say that’s just the way God created her. But it was our responsibility, whatever Indi came out like, to look after her.”
Indi was born at City Hospital in Nottingham, England. Shortly after her birth, Indi began experiencing seizures and other health complications that required surgical intervention. She was transported to Nottingham’s Queen Medical Center.
Gregory recalled how he was pressured six separate times to have Indi undergo genetic testing. He was wary of the genetic testing, out of concern that the results might affect the doctors’ level of care for Indi. But under the relentless pressure, he eventually said yes to the testing.
The results returned and Indi was diagnosed with a rare disease called mitochondrial disease.
“Obviously now my biggest fear came true, because as soon as I got that piece of paper they stopped wanting to care for her,” Gregory said. As early as three months old, the doctors began pushing for Indi to be moved to hospice care, Gregory said, without having tried proven treatments for Indi’s condition.
“She was being neglected,” Gregory recalled, adding that she wasn’t being given basic amino acids and nutrients necessary for children with mitochondrial disease. “She would get an infection and they’ll try and blame it on her condition… and then it turns out she had sepsis.”
Gregory recalled eventually “being taken into a room by a doctor and a nurse, [and being told] ‘we’ve been advised to take you to court [to remove Indi’s life support]. And if you say anything or put it on social media, we’ll get reporting restrictions on you…’ We just couldn’t believe it.”
Discussing the UK public healthcare system, Gregory said, “I didn’t realize that parents have no rights at all and [when] you go to a court… you’ve got the (National Health Service) NHS and the Georgian – they’ve all got the same boss. They’re all run by the state. So they’re basically working for each other.”
“And whatever the NHS wants, the judges will just stamp it,” Gregory said. “Even though I knew I had no chance of winning, because of how corrupt it is, I still was willing to fight and go all the way.”
Against her parents’ wishes, the High Court of London ruled for Indi’s doctors to remove life support, saying that it would be in Indi’s “best interests” to die. In response, her parents fought tirelessly for Indi, repeatedly appealing the court’s decision.
“How can it be in anybody’s ‘best interest’ to pass away? To me it feels like it’s legalized murder,” Gregory told Rose. “Just because you suffer a little bit of pain, you should be sent to your death – it’s wrong. She just needed the right treatment and the right care, and she could have had a good quality of life. And we’ve got professionals agreeing with us.”
As the legal battle continued, Italy’s prime minister Giorgia Meloni granted Indi citizenship, and the Vatican offered to provide Indi with medical treatment at their pediatric hospital. Then the UK government also denied Indi’s parents’ appeal to transfer her to Italy.
After denying Indi’s transfer request to Italy, the judge set a date for Indi’s life support to be removed. This moment, Gregory said, was when it felt like he was “in hell.”
CatholicVote previously reported:
Though [Indi’s] parents have never identified as “religious,” her parents decided to have her baptized. “I have seen what hell is like and I want Indi to go to heaven,” said her father, Dean.
[Gregory] described feeling “as if Hell pulled at me” during the court hearing.
“I thought that if Hell exists, then Heaven must exist too… It was like the devil was there. I thought that if the devil exists, then God must exist too,” he said.
[Gregory] also said that he is going to be baptized: “We want to be protected in this life and go to heaven.”
In the court hearing the parents were told they would be allowed to choose where Indi would pass: in their home, or in hospice. The judge later forbade them to take her home, however, leaving them only the option of professional hospice care. They appealed the decision and the NHS took the appeal back to court. The judge struck the appeal down.
“She wasn’t able to come home. It was too ‘unsafe’ for Indi to come home. We live 18 minutes away from the hospital. The hospice was 40 minutes away. So, how can it be unsafe to come home?” Gregory said.
He added that only one person was allowed in the ambulance as they transported Indi to hospice. “It just felt cruel and evil,” Gregory said. Indi’s mother Staniforth went in the ambulance with her.
Staniforth was “escorted by police and security guards,” Gregory recalled, “which obviously made her feel really bad, like you’re being forced… So we’re being forced to go to this hospice, and we’re having to sit there and see Indi suffer.”
Indi was provided a mask to help with her breathing after she was removed from life support. Gregory recalled how the care provided at the hospice was extremely lacking. Gregory added that he and Staniforth were assured that going to hospice was better because Indi would receive “better quality care, but the nurses only came in to give her the medicines.”
“So I was left to watch her die and suffer,” Gregory tearfully recalled, “which I’ll never forget.”
When asked what should happen next in the UK healthcare system, Gregory told Rose: “We just need a law where parents have more rights. We should be able to, as a parent, decide.”
“If another hospital is willing to treat them or to take them in, then they should be able to go,” Gregory said. “Or at least get other opinions from independent people. I remember asking when India was three months old if I could bring in a doctor from the outside. And they said ‘No, it has to be NHS.’”
“She didn’t deserve to die,” Gregory said. “I would do it all again for her.”
When asked how people can support him and his family, Gregory responded: “Just fight for your children… Because everyone deserves a chance to live.”
Editor’s note. McKenna Snow writes for CatholicVote, where this column originally appeared.