UK court rejects appeal over where critically ill baby’s treatment ends

By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) -The parents of a critically ill British baby girl on Friday lost their legal bid to have her life support removed at home rather than in a hospital or hospice.

Eight-month-old Indi Gregory suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease which means that her cells do not produce enough energy and has been on full life support since early September.

Her doctors say she suffers from significant pain and distress and there is no point in continuing treatment. On Wednesday, a judge ruled her life support should be removed, either in hospital or at a hospice.

Her parents challenged that, saying she should be allowed to have treatment removed at home, something the court had ruled was no longer possible due to the deterioration in her condition since that option had been previously discussed.

The UK Court of Appeal dismissed their challenge in a remote hearing on Friday.

“The grounds of appeal are entirely without merit,” Lord Justice Peter Jackson said, delivering the ruling.

“Although this is a legal decision, it is taken with a full awareness of the deeply sensitive question that lies at the heart of the proceedings.”

Jackson said a stay preventing doctors from removing her treatment, which was granted to allow the appeal to happen, had now come to an end.

“(Indi’s mother) Claire and I are again disgusted by another one-sided decision from the judges,” the baby’s father, Dean Gregory, said, in a statement provided by Christian Concern, a group supporting the family.

“This feels like the latest kick in the teeth, and we will not give up fighting for our daughter’s chance to live until the end,” he added.

Last month England’s High Court ruled it was in the baby’s “best interests” to be taken off life support, refusing a request from her parents to be allowed to take her to the Vatican’s children’s hospital in Rome.

Earlier this week the Italian government granted her citizenship in a further move aimed at preventing doctors from taking her off life support and allowing her to be moved to Italy.

Jackson said on Friday the idea that the Italian authorities were better able to determine the baby’s interests was “wholly misconceived” and that although not the subject of Friday’s appeal, Gregory’s father had accepted that decisions about her treatment would be made by UK courts.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Additional reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Alex Richardson and David Gregorio)