A critically ill baby girl at the centre of a right-to-life legal battle has died. Indi Gregory's parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, say they are "heartbroken" at her death shortly after her life-support treatment was withdrawn.
The couple, from Derbyshire, had fought for months in the High Court and Court of Appeal in London to make specialists continue treating her. Later they battled to allow her to be taken either to Italy for life enhancing treatment, or allowed to die at home. Virtually all of their pleas were rejected, and the eight-month old was moved instead from the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, to a nearby hospice, where she died.
During the legal battle, High Court judge Mr Justice Peel had ruled limiting treatment would be lawful, and doing so would be in Indi's best interests.
Her father Dean said "They did succeed in taking Indi's body and dignity, but they can never take her soul. They tried to get rid of Indi without anybody knowing, but we made sure she would be remembered forever. I knew she was special from the day she was born."
Andrea Williams, a spokesperson for Christian Concern who were supporting the parents, tells Premier she believes their efforts to extend Indi's short life will have an impact in the future, "I think that as a result of what we did, there is an awakening more generally in the public space around what families in these situations are going through. We'd like to see a more transparent system, a system where we see more mediation and conciliation where there are differences of opinion.
"No matter what people think, at the end of the day, you know, good and loving parents should be free to do all they can for their children."
Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Center, Professor David Albert Jones, said the case of Indi Gregory is depressingly familiar, and the odds are stacked against those in her parents' position. "We have seen it too many times before. The parents are faced with a process that is unfamiliar and where it is difficult to get access to medical information about their child. In court the child is represented, not by the parents, but by a guardian. In principle, the guardian could take the same view as the parents but in this case, as in most such cases, the guardian emphasised the burdens of treatment rather than the benefits of life and viewed Indi’s quality-of-life very negatively."
Jones admits that cases like Indi's come with ethical challenges, but says more weight should be given to the parents' wishes; "Until parents are shown to be making decisions that are both unreasonable and harmful however, they must be recognised as the first judges of what is in the best interests of their children. To take this responsibility away from parents peremptorily is an injustice not only to them but also to children who have the right to be cared for by their parents."