Critically ill UK girl dies following court battle

8-month-old Indi Gregory, diagnosed with terminal mitochondrial disease, succumbed less than 24 hours after life support withdrawal.

A terminally-ill British girl at the centre of a legal battle over her treatment died on Monday, less than 24 hours after specialists withdrew life support, her parents announced.

Indi Gregory passed away in the early hours of Monday after the 8-month-old’s parents lost a bid to transfer her to Italy for treatment, despite the government in Rome awarding her citizenship.

Her emotive case became the latest in Britain to pit parents against the country’s legal and healthcare systems.

Indi was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a genetic condition that prevents cells in the body producing energy.

There is no cure for mitochondrial disease and her parents — Claire Staniforth and Dean Gregory — had wanted her to be treated at the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu hospital.

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But Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) and multiple UK courts ruled against transferring her, arguing it was not in the 8-month-old’s best interests.

The Court of Appeal on Friday also rejected a plea to have her life support removed at home instead of in a hospital.

Her parents have decried the decisions, and said they were “angry, heartbroken and ashamed” as they announced their daughter’s death via the Christian Concern group that has been supporting the couple.

“The NHS and the courts not only took away her chance to live a longer life, but they also took away Indi’s dignity to pass away in the family home where she belonged,” Gregory said in a statement.

“They did succeed in taking Indi’s body and dignity, but they can never take her soul.”

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party promotes and defends traditional Catholic family values, announced last week that Indi Gregory had been granted Italian citizenship.

Meanwhile Pope Francis on Saturday released a statement saying he “embraces the family of little Indi Gregory, her father and mother” and that he “prays for them and for her”.

But British courts ruled Rome’s intervention was “wholly misconceived” as they blocked Indi’s transfer there.

Meloni responded on X (formerly Twitter) to the news of her death.

“We did everything we could, everything possible. Unfortunately, it was not enough. Bon voyage little Indi,” the Italian leader posted.

– By: © Agence France-Presse

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