Friday at 12:00 p.m. GMT, a court will decide whether Indi Gregory, an 8-month-old, terminally ill child, is to live or die, according to Jacopo Coghe, the spokesman for the Italian pro-life organization Pro Vita Famiglia.
The hearing is in response to an appeal made by Indi’s parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, who since October have been fighting English High Court Judge Sir Robert Roger Peel’s decision to allow medical staff to kill their daughter by taking her off life support.
Following the judge’s October ruling, the Italian government held an emergency meeting Monday, during which it decided to grant Indi Italian citizenship and cover the cost of her medical treatment at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital.
Despite Italy’s offer, however, Peel ruled Wednesday that it was in the baby’s “best interest” to remove Indi from life support. The judge also explicitly stated that the discontinuation of life support must be done in the hospital, not the child’s home.
“For the hospital and the U.K. Courts to simply ignore the offer from the Italian government is disgraceful,” said Dean Gregory, the child’s father, who appealed Peel’s decision yesterday. “I appeal to the British government to allow Indi to come to Italy before it is too late,” he continued desperately. “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.”
To make matters worse, according to nonprofit advocacy group Christian Concern, “[National Health Service] bosses threatened to remove life-support [Wednesday] without family members present… 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 BBC reported that Peel was advised to remove Indi from life support by “medics” from the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, England, where Indi has been receiving treatment.
The reason Indi’s life lies in the hands of medical staff and a judge is thanks to England’s socialized health care system provided by its National Health Service (NHS). The NHS is the fifth-largest employer in the world, and yet, as with all socialized health care systems, English residents are subject to deteriorating hospitals and the absurdly long treatment waitlists that have led to unspeakable suffering and even death.
Since medical resources are communal and therefore must be rationed, doctors in England have the unsettling job of determining who is worthy of treatment. Forbes Magazine and other media outlets reported that the NHS will simply deny knee and hip replacements to certain patients based on weight or smoker status.
Indeed, Indi’s story is tragically not the first of its kind in England. The Vatican’s Bambino Gesù has offered refuge and treatment to other terminally ill British babies, such as Alfie Evans in 2018 and Charlie Gard in 2017. Both Evans and Gard “were ultimately denied the chance to travel to Italy by U.K. courts and died days after being removed from life support,” reported the National Catholic Register.
‘‘Indi can definitely experience happiness. She cries like a normal baby. We know she is disabled, but you don’t just let disabled people die. We just want to give her a chance,” Indi’s father said. But English medical professionals have a perverse incentive not to give Indi a chance at life simply because she is disabled.
According to the National Catholic Register, Indi “suffers from a rare degenerative mitochondrial disease.” Dr. Matteo Corradini, the Italian consul in Manchester, issued an emergency measure Wednesday approving a treatment plan drawn up by a Bambino Gesù specialist to meet Indi’s specific needs. Corradini also appointed the Italian hospital’s general manager as Gregory’s guardian and authorized Indi’s immediate transfer to Bambino Gesù.
“They say there isn’t much hope for little Indi, but until the very end, I’ll do what I can to defend her life, and to defend the right of her mamma and papa to do all that they can for her,” Italian President Giorgia Meloni said after granting Indi Italian citizenship.
“My heart fills up with joy that the Italians have given Claire and I hope and faith back in humanity,” said Dean in response to the Italian government’s decision. “The Italians have shown us care and loving support and I wish the U.K. authorities were the same.”