Parents of brain-damaged girl call for change in law

The mother of a severely brain-damaged girl who won the right to take her daughter abroad for treatment has told Sky News the law needs to be changed to protect parental rights.

A High Court judge ruled on Thursday that five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb can be moved to the Gaslini children's hospital in Italy.

Specialists caring for Tafida at the Royal London Hospital said further treatment would be futile because the youngster has permanent brain damage and has no chance of recovery.

Image: Tafida suffered a traumatic brain injury in February (Save Tafida Facebook page)

But her parents Shelina Begum, 39, and Mohammed Raqeeb, 45, of Newham, east London, said doctors at Gaslini in Genoa would keep providing life support treatment until Tafida was diagnosed as brain dead.

At a celebratory meal at the Cinnamon Spice restaurant in north London, Ms Begum told Sky News: "Every single day I actually broke down. I was petrified. What is it going to be? A life sentence or a death sentence?"


They said Tafida, who has a British-Bangladeshi background, is from a Muslim family and Islamic law allows only God to end life.

The family spoke after their court victory over their daughter Tafida.
Image: The family spoke after their court victory over their daughter

"The government needs to revisit the law so another family doesn't go through what we have, or what previous families have gone through," Ms Begum said.

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"Parental rights should never be taken away."

The High Court heard how Tafida woke her parents in the early hours in February complaining of a headache.

She collapsed shortly afterwards and doctors discovered that blood vessels in her brain were tangled and had ruptured.

Mr Justice MacDonald, who analysed evidence at a recent trial in London, said he had decided "on a fine balance" that it was in Tafida's best interests for "life-sustaining treatment" to continue.

He said there could be no justification for stopping her parents moving her to the Italian hospital if they wanted to.

The mother of a critically ill five-year-old girl Tafida Raqeeb has begged doctors not to block the family's bid to take her to Italy for treatment that they hope could save her life.
Image: Tafida is allowed to go to Italy for treatment

The hospital said it would not appeal against the decision.

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London Hospital, said: "We followed the guidance of the General Medical Council and referred this tragic case to the Family Division of the High Court to reach an independent view about Tafida's best interests.

"The High Court weighed up clinical and ethicaRead More – Source

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