Doctors painting ‘wrongly pessimistic’ image of critically ill baby – father

The father of a critically ill baby at the centre of a life support treatment fight thinks doctors are painting a “wrongly pessimistic and bleak” picture, a judge has heard.

Seven-month-old Indi Gregory’s father, Dean Gregory, told Mr Justice Peel on Monday that the little girl had “proved everyone wrong” and needed “more time”.

He said: “You only get one life.”

A doctor had earlier told the judge that Indi – who has mitochondrial disease, a genetic condition that saps energy from the body’s cells – was “dying”.

He said keeping her on a ventilator would “prolong matters”.

The doctor said staff treating Indi at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham had done the best they could and were “very sad”.

Dean Gregory, the father of six-month-old Indi Gregory, at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London
Dean Gregory, the father of Indi Gregory, at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London (Victoria Jones/PA)

The judge is considering evidence at a private trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Indi’s parents, Mr Gregory and Claire Staniforth, who are both in their 30s and from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, want treatment to continue.

Mr Gregory believed that Indi “does enjoy life”, the judge heard.

Barrister Bruno Quintavalle, who is representing Indi’s parents, told Mr Justice Peel: “Mr Gregory believes that Indi does enjoy life and that she is able to interact with people and her environment, for example if she is crying then talking to her will make her stop, and she interacts with films on the iPad.”

He added: “(Mr Gregory) would not wish Indi to be exposed to unnecessary suffering or to a burdensome existence but believes the picture being painted of her life is wrongly pessimistic and bleak.”

Mr Gregory said he did not think his daughter was in pain.

“We are there every day,” he told the judge.

“If I thought she was in pain, I would not be here arguing.”

He went on: “She has proved everyone wrong. I think she needs more time.”

The doctor,  who cannot be named in media reports, had told Mr Justice Peel that staff had “tried to treat” Indi to the “best of our abilities”.

He said: “The terrible reality is that she is dying.”

The doctor said “further ventilation” would “prolong matters”.

He said Indi had “no meaningful interaction with the world” but added: “She does have significant amounts of time of distress. It is very difficult to watch.”

Bosses at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who have responsibility for Indi’s care, have asked the judge to make decisions.

Indi Gregory trial
Mr Justice Peel is considering evidence relating to Indi Gregory at a private hearing at the High Court (Aaron Chown/PA)

He told Mr Justice Peel that on the unit where he was based there were “15 to 20” deaths a year.

The doctor said staff dealt with “child life cases almost on a monthly basis”.

He said Indi’s case was “really difficult”.

The doctor told Mr Justice Peel that on one day Indi had “nine episodes of resuscitation to keep her alive”.

Barrister Emma Sutton KC, who is leading the trust’s legal team, has told the judge that Indi is “critically” ill.

She has told how Indi has a “devastating neurometabolic disorder”, which is “exceptionally rare”.

Ms Sutton added on Monday: “If clinicians see any improvement, then they are not going to do anything but look at that properly.”

Mr Justice Peel is considering evidence behind closed doors but has allowed journalists to attend the hearing and ruled that Indi, her parents, and the hospital can be named in reports.

He ruled that medics treating Indi – and a guardian appointed to represent her interests – could not be named.

Mr Gregory told the judge that being “threatened with court” was “just evil”.

He added: “It just felt like I am just being dragged through hell.”

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