(CP) Lawyers for the parents of a baby girl in the United Kingdom are making a last-ditch appeal after a judge ruled that she should be removed from life support by Thursday and not allowed to return home despite her parents' wishes.
Justice Robert Peel of the High Court ruled Wednesday that 8-month-old Indi Gregory, who suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease and is currently in pediatric intensive care at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, should be taken off life support at either the hospital or hospice, according to the Christian Legal Centre.
National Health Service authorities threatened to remove life support Monday without parents, Claire Staniforth and Dean Gregory, present, which caused the father to feel "like he was going to have a heart attack when he was informed," according to the CLC.
The Christian Post reached out to NHS and will provide an update if the government agency responds.
Peel's latest ruling comes after an emergency online hearing on Tuesday regarding where the child's extubation would take place. Peel previously ruled that Indi Gregory's care plan "can take place at home or at a hospice, as the parents may elect," though NHS clinicians reportedly refused to allow it to take place at the Gregorys' home.
"Indi has been in hospital all her young life," Dean Gregory previously said. "She is not in pain and is clearly comforted by her mum and dad. We just want to give her a chance."
He said his daughter, who was baptized on Sept. 22, responds to touch and can experience happiness. He has criticized the government healthcare system for pressuring his family to give up on her.
"It has been like experiencing Hell," he said of his family's ordeal.
Peel's most recent ruling comes despite the Italian government granting Indi Gregory citizenship and issuing emergency measures this week so that she can obtain specialist treatment at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome at no cost to the NHS or U.K. taxpayers.
Peel twice blocked Indi Gregory's transfer to Italy for specialist treatment.
Italian politicians have weighed in on the situation.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wrote on social media Monday: "They say there isn't much hope for little Indi, but until the very end, I'll do what I can to defend her life. And to defend the right of her mamma and papa to do all that they can for her."
Gregory's treatment at the hands of the U.K. court drew condemnation earlier this month from Simone Pillon, a former Italian senator who helped set up the girl's potential treatment at the hospital in Rome, which is under the jurisdiction of the Holy See.
"We are appalled by the rulings by U.K. courts in this case and the refusal of the NHS Trust to help the family transfer Indi to Rome," Pillon said in a statement.
Dean Gregory claimed he has faced "repeated threats from the hospital trying to intimidate me and speed up Indi's death, even when there are outstanding court orders in place," according to the CLC.
"There does not appear to be any care or compassion, only cruelty towards us as a family," he continued. "For the hospital and the U.K. courts to simply ignore the offer from the Italian government is disgraceful."
"I appeal to the British government to allow Indi to come to Italy before it is too late," he added. "As a father, I have never asked or begged for anything in my life, but I am now begging the British government to please help prevent our daughter's life from being taken away."
The Christian Post has reached out to Nottingham University Hospitals for comment.
Gregory's situation echoes similar cases of British toddlers Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard, who were similarly denied the chance to receive treatment at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital by U.K. courts.
Gard, who suffered from a rare genetic condition causing progressive brain damage and muscle weakness, died in 2017 at 11 months old after a British judge ordered him removed from life support following a bitter dispute between his parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Evans, who had a degenerative neurological condition, died at 23 months old in 2018 after his parents lost their legal fight with British and European Union courts to have him taken home or transferred to Rome for further treatment.