Parents win court bid to take Tafida, five, to Italy to continue life support

A couple who want to move their severely disabled five-year-old daughter to an Italian hospital have won a High Court life-support treatment fight.

Specialists caring for Tafida Raqeeb at the Royal London Hospital in east London said further treatment would be futile because the youngster has permanent brain damage, is in a minimally conscious state and has no chance of recovery.

Tafida’s parents, who live in Newham, east London, want to move her to Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa, and have organised funding.

Her mother, solicitor Shelina Begum, and father, construction consultant Mohammed Raqeeb, said doctors there would keep providing life-support treatment until Tafida was diagnosed as brain dead.

Tafida's father Mohammed Raqeeb arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice
Tafida’s father Mohammed Raqeeb arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

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

Ms Begum, 39, and Mr Raqeeb, 45, were in court to hear a judge ruled that Tafida can be moved in Italy.

Mr Raqeeb said after the ruling: ‘We are thrilled with the judgement.”

Barrister David Lock QC, who represented them, said: “My clients have asked me to express their profound thanks.”

He said the ruling the ruling was an “enormous relief” to them.

Mr Lock said they “wanted to get on with the transfer”.

Lawyers representing the trust said bosses would consider an appeal.

Mr Justice MacDonald analysed evidence at a recent High Court trial in London.

Bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London Hospital, had asked the judge to rule that stopping life-support treatment was in Tafida’s best interests.

Shelina Begum, mother of Tafida Raqeeb
Shelina Begum, mother of Tafida Raqeeb (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Lawyers representing Tafida had asked him to rule that she could be moved to Italy.

They had taken instructions from a relative and their application was backed by Tafida’s parents.

Mr Justice MacDonald 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.

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