Louis Browne KC acts in right to life case
November 3, 2023
As reported in the national press, Louis Browne KC from Exchange Chambers (leading Bruno Quintavalle and instructed by Andrew Storch Solicitors) has acted for the parents of Indi Gregory in their fight to seek treatment for their daughter at an Italian hospital.
Indi, who was born on 24 February, has mitochondrial disease and medics at Nottingham’s Queen Medical Centre (QMC) have been told they can withdraw life support for her.
Doctors have said Indi is dying and her treatment is futile and causes pain.
The High Court case comes after the Christian Legal Centre, which is working with Indi’s parents, said Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Rome had agreed to accept the little girl.
Louis Browne KC, representing Indi’s parents, asked Mr Justice Peel to allow Indi to be transferred to Rome for care which he said could prolong the baby’s life. He said there had been a “material” change of circumstances, since he ruled that doctors could limit treatment and Indi had a chance of a “longer life”.
Louis Browne KC told Mr Justice Peel that the Nottingham hospital’s governing trust was refusing to co-operate with a transfer.
“The concerns arise because the court has made no order obliging Indi to be treated by the trust or restricting her right to move,” he said.
“The court is respectfully asked to make the order sought so that Indi can move her medical care to a new hospital, who, whilst putting her best interests first, is prepared to treat her.”
Mr Justice Peel denied the request in a ruling today. In a written judgment, he said there was “no compelling new medical evidence” to justify him revising his decision to allow life-support to be withdrawn. “There is nothing to suggest that Indi Gregory’s prognosis would be beneficially altered by the Italian hospital’s treatment,” he said.
Mitochondrial disease prevents cells in the body producing energy and the NHS says the condition is incurable.
Earlier this month, in the High Court, Mr Justice Peel ruled “with a heavy heart” that doctors can stop life support. Indi’s parents Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, challenged the ruling but this was dismissed by two Court of Appeal judges. They then failed in their bid for the case to be heard at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
Following today’s ruling, Mr Gregory described the decision as “sickening”, and said they were “disappointed, heartbroken and shocked”. Their legal team has confirmed they are seeking the permission of the Court of Appeal to appeal the Judge’s order.