Indi, yet another postponement: Italy is waiting for her

ROME – Yet another episode of what is becoming, sadly, a tragic “soap opera”: the (unknowing) protagonist is little Indi Gregory, eight months old, suffering from an incurable disease and hospitalized at Nottingham’s Queen Medical Centre, in England, the country that he effectively sentenced her to death, with a ruling from the High Court of the United Kingdom, against her parents’ wishes. The baby is incurable and must be taken off life support, Judge Robert Peel said.

A decision that the Italian government attempted to cancel, granting Italian citizenship in record time to allow the little girl’s transfer to the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome, ready to welcome her and continue to keep her alive, as her parents wish. But England, despite the Italian “move”, continued forward by announcing the interruption of life support.

Today, we were saying, yet another episode: the High Court of the United Kingdom will rule again tomorrow, after the Gregory family appealed against the decision of the British justice system to stop the machines. The announcement was made by the Gregory family’s Italian lawyer, former senator of Lega party, Simone Pillon, anti-abortion and pro-life activist.

But what is Indi affected by? The little girl has mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a serious neuro-metabolic disorder at the mitochondrial level that dramatically compromises the quality and expectancy of life. In fact – as the news agency Tgcom 24 explains in an extensive report published today – it prevents cells from producing energy and has devastating effects on the brain, liver, heart and muscles. The newborn is already unable to breathe without the machines, and sooner or later the heart will inexorably stop beating.

This pathology is the same one that Charlie Gard suffered from, another British child who Italy was ready to welcome six years ago but whose treatment was interrupted before the transfer could take place.

The therapeutic fury towards little Indi, whose clinical path unfortunately appears to be destined for what in these cases the doctors bureaucratically call “an unfortunate outcome”, that is to say a prediction that the patient will not survive, would go against the law and Italian medical ethics. In fact, law 219 of 2017 prescribes that in cases of patients with a poor prognosis, the doctor must not implement “unreasonable obstinacy” in the administration of care and the right, in the event of refusal of healthcare treatment, to palliative care. Without citing the legislation, article 39 of the Code of Medical Ethics also refers to the fact that “in the case of illnesses with a certainly poor prognosis, the doctor must base his work on behaviors suitable to save unnecessary mental and physical suffering. He must continue with life-sustaining therapy as long as it is deemed reasonably useful, avoiding any form of aggressive therapy”.

If the doctors at the Nottingham hospital authorized Indi’s transfer to Italy, the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome has made known its willingness to take charge of the little girl to offer her palliative care at the Passoscuro centre. In fact, the doctors of the Roman hospital have never questioned what their British colleagues found: the pathology that struck Indi is a genetic disease whose outcome is, tragically, a foregone conclusion.

However, if the little girl arrives in Rome, new diagnostic tests will still be carried out. And here lies the hope of Indi’s parents, who at the same time claim their right as parents to decide for their daughter. “The choice to interrupt her life is monstrous” said Dean, Indi’s father, willing to fight to the end to prevent that thorn from being pulled.