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Good-bye Indi Gregory
May you rest in peace

TORONTO – That little angel is no more. She was the picture of sheer innocence. Her struggle to survive captured the imagination and hearts of people in far away lands. Barely eight months old, she is no more, at least not in this world.

It is not a world where we highlight the likes of Indi Gregory, daughter of Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, as perhaps we should. Not that long ago, in this lifetime, there was rarely a family that did not experience the passing of a child shortly after birth.

Medical science and technologies were not as advanced. Even today they cannot solve all health issues, but they offer hope. The first steps are never easy: research, discover the “illness”; research further to mitigate and cure the condition. Subsequent steps involve a willpower and resources to continue that hope.

Baby Indi’s condition had been identified as an incurable mitochondrial disease, discovered, incidentally, by team of research scientists in a hospital in Bari, Italy that included Israeli and Palestinian medics.

In their wisdom, British medical experts determined that she was “terminally ill” and that the hospital should “pull the plug on her support systems”, over the objections of her parents. Even if the law were to permit it, the culture of Italians would not tolerate the State superseding the parents.

The lawyer entrusted with protection of Baby Indi’s human rights took her case to the British Courts. The Courts dismissed those objections, deciding in favour of the medical profession, as reported in the UK Guardian, determining that “it is in the best interests of the child” … to let her die? She would surely expire once deprived of breath.

The case/cause moved to the European Courts, whose jurisdiction could not overturn British resolve, and to Italy. Baby Indi’s lawyer is/was Italian. His network includes high-ranking government officials who were puzzled by the Court’s contention that an eight-month-old infant could express what might “be in her best interest”. For Italians, it was a usurpation of parental obligations no mother or father would allow.

The lawyer appealed to the Italian Prime Minister, a mother and pleaded a proposal to provide care. She convened an emergency meeting of Cabinet. After a fourteen-minute meeting, the government authorized prime Minister Georgia Meloni to grant Indi Gregory Italian citizenship. The purpose was to facilitate the transfer of the child to an Italian hospital (il Bambino Gesu’) where she would be accorded continuing care – at no cost to the British medical system. The discovery of [the mitochondrial] disease was, after all attributed to the Italian medical system, among the top two in the world, alternating with the French for top spot. Perhaps they might continue to provide hope.

According to the UK Guardian, the British courts once again beat down that proposal with the declaration that “it is not in the child’s best interests” to live, referring to that proposal as “wholly misconceived”.

The Appeal Court ordered the plug be pulled on Indi’s life support system. So much for her human rights. It further ordered that, contrary to her parents’ wishes, she be transferred to a hospice – not her home – to await the now inevitable.

The Canadian mainstream media and press skimmed over the story, choosing to cut and paste articles from agencies in the USA or Britain. Baby Gregory died at 1:45 pm, November 12.

One can empathize with the grieving father who lashed out at the British medical system and the Courts for not only depriving Indi of her right to life but also for denying her the dignity of dying in her own home. The Corriere extends its condolences to the family.

Indi Gregory at the hospital in England, when she was still alive

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