Bishop Patrick McKinney, Bishop of Nottingham, and Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues, have commented on the case of Indi Gregory, a critically ill eight-month-old baby being treated at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham:
“The tragic situation of baby Indi Gregory is truly heartbreaking, most especially for her devoted parents Claire and Dean, her siblings, wider family and friends. Those responsible for her medical care at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, believe they have done all they can to help her. However, as people of hope, we recognise that her parents want to pursue every possible chance of extending her life, even when they know this carries no guarantee of success and would require transfer to the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome, Italy. In this regard, both parties are seeking to act in Indi’s best interests. Parental love will lead to a desire to take every possible step and we support this.
“Where medical treatment becomes disproportionate to any possible benefit, proper palliative care for a sick person must be maintained. The suspension of disproportionate therapies cannot justify the suspension of basic care which includes treatments that are required to maintain essential physiological functions as long as the body can benefit from them (such as hydration, nutrition, proportionate respiratory support, thermoregulation and pain management). Alongside spiritual care offered for the one who will soon meet God, the Church views these treatments as necessary to accompany these little patients to a dignified natural death.
“Prolonged terminal illness is, sadly, part of the human condition. We should never act with the deliberate intention to end a human life, including the removal of basic care so that death might be achieved. We do, however, sometimes have to recognise the limitations of what can be done, while always acting humanely in the service of the sick person until the time of natural death occurs. We hope and pray that, in the wake of this decision, the family are gradually able to find some peace over the coming days and weeks. Our prayers are with baby Indi and her parents and family, as well as with those caring for her.”