Tafida allowed to go abroad for treatment

Ansar Ahmed Ullah

Tafida Raqeeb a previously healthy five year-old child who suffered from a traumatic brain injury in February 2019 had a ruptured blood vessel in her brain and is currently on the life support machine at Royal London Whitechapel Hospital.

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On 9th February, Tafida collapsed at home and suffered a cardiac and respiratory attack. She was rushed to the local hospital and later transferred to a specialist hospital for brain surgery. 

Initially, the family were informed that Tafida will have a tracheostomy, which meant that she could come off the ventilator. Tafida’s parents Shelina Begum & Mohammed Raqeeb were told that she may be able to go home after a few months and her recovery could continue at home. However, the medical team changed their mind and wanted to withdraw ventilation to end her life. Tafida’s parents were very distraught as they had seen their daughter make progress in the five months that she has been in intensive care. Therefore, they requested more time for her recovery. Unfortunately, the plea fell on death ears, and so not wanting to leave any stone unturned, they researched foreign treatment. They found a European hospital willing to continue treatment for Tafida but sadly, hospital refused to release her.

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The family campaigned to give Tafida a chance to make a recovery and allow her to be transferred to a hospital that is willing to take care of her and continue with her treatment.

Following a high court ruling last week the parents are now being allowed to take Tafida abroad to continue her treatment. Parents have organised to take her to the Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa, Italy. Doctors in Italy would continue to treat their daughter until she was diagnosed as brain dead.

The BBC reported barrister David Lock QC who said the ruling was an “enormous relief” for the couple who he said now “wanted to get on with the transfer”.

Lawyers representing Barts Health NHS Trust said hospital bosses would consider appealing against the ruling.

In his ruling, Mr Justice MacDonald found that, “where a child is not in pain and is not aware of his or her parlous situation, these cases can place the objective best interests test under some stress. Tests must be looked for in subjective or highly value laden ethical, moral or religious factors… which mean different things to different people in a diverse, multicultural, multi-faith society.”

Lawyer Mathieu Culverhouse, who represented Tafida, said there were “no winners in a case like this” but added the family were “relieved they are now a step closer to taking Tafida to Italy”.

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