A judge in the United Kingdom ruled to take away an 8-month-old baby’s life-sustaining treatment against her parents’ will.
Baby Indi is responsive, but Judge Robert Peel decided the child’s “quality of life” was “extremely limited” and her life therefore should be cut short.
Indi was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease where her body struggles to turn sugar into energy. She has been receiving treatment at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
Her parents hope to seek alternative treatments to help her fight the illness.
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As the family’s heart-wrenching fight for their daughter’s life gained global attention, they’ve found allies in high places willing to help. Will it be enough?
A Vatican children’s hospital offered to treat Indi, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni already granted citizenship to the baby to expedite a hopeful transfer that could save her life. Meloni promised, “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.”
Baby Indi’s father, Dean Gregory, said “I appeal to the British government to allow Indi to come to Italy before it is too late. 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.”
The Italian government said it was committed to cover the costs of medical treatment.
However, doctors from Britain’s National Health Service have contended that further treatment would not be beneficial, and Justice Peel therefore rejected the family’s plea to transfer her, arguing it would be “too dangerous… given the clinical complications.”
Court of Appeal judges have backed that decision.
Indi’s father argued, “Even if the transfer to Italy involves some risk, the only alternative we have been offered in the UK is to go along with Indi’s death. There is nothing to lose for us or for Indi.”
The hospital was scheduled to take away the child’s life-sustaining treatment on Thursday, but a court granted more time so the family can appeal the judge’s decision preventing them from seeking treatment in Italy.
Indi’s tragic case is not unique.
Four-month-old Alfie Evans in 2018 and 11-month-old Charlie Gard in 2017 died after British courts ordered their life-sustaining treatment to be removed because their “quality of life” was too low. The Vatican offered to take care of both children, but courts denied them the chance to travel to Italy.
Even in Texas, hospitals can take away a patient’s life-sustaining treatment against the family’s will, prompting his or her death.
Four-year-old Clifton Hollier passed away in 2012 when a Houston hospital took away his ventilator. Doctors said they did not expect him to live more than 20 minutes off the ventilator, but for over an hour, his mother watched her precious child convulse and gasp for air.
Four years ago today, a Fort Worth hospital planned to remove the ventilator of 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis. Texas Right to Life attorneys filed a temporary restraining order and won more time for the child to continue treatment. Today, she is at home with her family and will turn 5 years old in February.
Although Texas lawmakers passed much-needed improvements for vulnerable patients, the fact remains that it is still legal in Texas for hospitals to take away life-sustaining treatment against one’s will.
In all these cases, including Baby Indi’s, a clash of worldviews lies beneath the headlines. One worldview believes in valuing an individual human life regardless of the circumstances, and the other believes that a patient’s life only is valuable if it meets some specific criteria or level of quality.
While these stories are shocking to most, the reality is that this “quality of life” ethic has corroded our medical institutions. Being Pro-Life means we value and fight for every single person’s Right to Life, no matter their diagnosis or limitations. As western medicine continues to march down this dangerous “quality of life” path, our movement must be prepared to speak up and take action to save the least among us like Baby Indi.
Pray for Indi and her family. As the legal battle continues, the fate of this baby girl hangs in the balance, with her parents fervently hoping for a miracle that could save their beloved daughter’s life.