Disabled girl’s parents relieved to learn they will not face another legal fight

A couple given the go-ahead to move their severely disabled daughter to an Italian hospital say they are relieved to learn that they will not face a further legal fight.

Tafida Raqeeb’s parents won a High Court battle on Thursday when a judge ruled that she could be moved to the Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa.

Solicitor Shelina Begum, 39, and construction consultant Mohammed Raqeeb, 45, of Newham, east London, hope to move five-year-old Tafida to Italy in the next two weeks following Mr Justice MacDonald’s decision.

Bosses at the Royal London Hospital, where Tafida is being treated, had said they were considering an appeal,

But bosses said on Friday that they would not try to overturn the decision.

“Shelina and Mohammed are relieved that there will not be an appeal,” said the couple’s solicitor, Paul Conrathe, who is based at Sinclairslaw.

“They can now get on with the process of preparing to move Tafida to Italy.”

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London Hospital, said: “After careful consideration regarding the wider implications of the judgment, we have decided not to appeal.

“Our doctors and nurses will continue to provide Tafida with the best possible care as long as she continues to be our patient.

“We will also support the family as they make alternative arrangements for Tafida’s care.”

Specialists at the Royal London Hospital, where Tafida is receiving life support, had opposed a move to Italy.

They said further treatment would be futile because the youngster had permanent brain damage, was in a minimally conscious state and had no chance of recovery.

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.

Ms Begum and Mr Raqeeb said doctors at the Gaslini would keep providing life-support treatment until Tafida was diagnosed as brain-dead.

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

Mr Justice MacDonald, who analysed evidence at a recent High Court 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.

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