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Italy, Vatican ready to help UK baby before docs pull life-support  

Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù

Cineberg | Shutterstock

Isabella H. de Carvalho - published on 11/07/23

The Vatican’s hospital and the Italian government have offered to treat a terminally ill baby, while a British court has ruled she should be taken off life-support.

On November 6, 2023, the Italian government decided to grant citizenship to a terminally ill English newborn, after the British High Court ruled that doctors could withdraw her life-support. The Vatican’s Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome had previously offered to continue treatment for the newborn. 

Eight-month-old Indi Gregory has a rare condition called mitochondrial disease, and is currently being treated at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, UK. Her parents have been caught in a legal battle with the British High Court, after a judge ruled “with a heavy heart” to remove her life support on October 13, as reported by the BBC. The judge stated this was in her “best interest” as the “the burdens of invasive treatment outweigh the benefits.”Mitochondrial disease prevents cells from producing energy correctly in the body and thus affects how organs develop and function.

However, hours before the doctors were supposed to stop her life support, the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome offered to treat the baby, as reported by Christian Concern, the campaign group supporting the parents, on October 30.

The Vatican’s children hospital is available

“We write to confirm that we are prepared to accept your daughter Indi Gregory, born 24 February 2023, for treatment at Bambino Gesù Children Hospital, Rome, with immediate effect,” the hospital’s President, Tiziano Oresti, wrote in a letter published on Christian Concern’s website. “We have reviewed Indi’s medical records file and are currently preparing a detailed treatment plan for Indi with multidisciplinary input from doctors at Bambino Gesù Children Hospital.” 

Nonetheless, on November 2, the High Court rejected the parent’s appeal to move Indi to Italy. Contacted by Aleteia on November 7, the Bambino Gesù Hospital said they are not commenting on this issue at the moment but confirmed that they are available to treat the newborn. 

“We are amazed and truly grateful to the hospital and the Italian government, which has restored our faith in humanity,” Indi Gregory’s father, Dean, said in a statement published on Christian Concern’s website. “Indi deserves the chance for a longer life.”

The Italian government offers to help

In a further development to the case, on November 6, the Italian government also granted citizenship to Indi Gregory, on top of paying for the treatment costs, so as to facilitate her transferring to Rome. Another hearing on this case was supposed to be held in the UK on November 7, according to the Associated Press

“They say there is not much hope for little Indi, but until the end I will do what I can to defend her life. And to defend the right of her mom and dad to do all they can for her,” said Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni. 

Not the first case

There have been other cases in the past where the Bambino Gesù Hospital has offered to treat British children who were terminally ill. The two-year-old Alfie Evans in 2018 and one-year-old Charlie Gard in 2017 were both denied to be transferred to Italy and died shortly after their life support was removed. Alfie Evans had also been granted Italian citizenship.

Tags:
ItalyPro-lifeUnited KingdomVatican
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