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World News

'A precious gift': Bishops' issue statement after death of eight-month-old in Nottingham

by Ros Mayfield

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has issued a statement, following the death of eight-month old Indi Gregory, in Nottingham on Monday.

Bishop Patrick McKinney, Bishop of Nottingham, and Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues wrote: 

“With deep sadness we express our condolences to Dean and Claire, parents of Indi Gregory, who died earlier today. We assure them of our prayers and those of all the Catholic Community, including Pope Francis, at this sad time.

“As a baptised child of God, we believe that she will now share in the joy of heaven after her short life which brought deep joy to her parents who loved and protected her as a precious gift of God."

Indi's family had endured a traumatic and difficult legal battle with the NHS, over their daughter's right to life.  Indi was born with a mitochondrial condition, which caused deterioration in her body's cells. Her heart did not form correctly, and she also suffered from brain damage. She was not expected to survive past her birth in February, but her parents were able to have her baptised in hospital. The NHS medical team caring for her had wanted to withdraw life support for several months.  They disagreed with the family's opinion on whether Indi was responding to their touch. Her father took her case to the High Court and then the Appeal Court in London, while her mother Claire remained at her daughter's bedside. 

The Bishops's statement continued: “We thank all who worked so tirelessly to care for her at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham and at the hospice where she died.

“The legal battle between the NHS Trust and her parents shows again the need for greater weight to be given to the parental voice in these complex and sensitive cases. A simple way to begin to remedy this would be to amend the Health and Care Act 2022 by reintroducing Baroness Ilora Finlay’s amendment on ‘Dispute resolution in children’s palliative care’[1] formulated after the death of Charlie Gard.

“We will continue to contribute to wider discussions on questions of when treatment becomes disproportionate to any possible benefit and the duty of the continuation of basic care, including assisted nutrition and hydration, to protect the good of every child.”

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