High Court rules Tafida Raqeeb’s parents can take her to Italy for treatment

Tafida Raqeeb

The High Court in London has ruled that the parents of brain-damaged girl Tafida Raqeeb will be allowed to take her to Italy to continue her treatment.

The five-year-old has been on life support at the Royal London Hospital since suffering a traumatic brain injury in February.

Her parents have raised nearly £35,000 to take her to the Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa, Italy.

UK specialists had argued any further treatment would be futile and bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust had asked the judge to rule that ending Tafida’s life-support was in her best interests.

Her mother, Shelina Begum, and father, Mohammed Raqeeb, said doctors in Italy would continue to treat their daughter until she was diagnosed as brain dead. They argued that Tafida was from a Muslim family and Islamic law said only God could take the decision to end her life.

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

The Save Tafida page on Facebook said: “We are pleased to announce that Justice MacDonald has ruled in Tafida’s favour and has handed full parental rights back to her parents. He ruled that it is NOT in her best interest to die and she be allowed to go to Italy for treatment. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for the love and support we have received ?? Together we will #saveTafida”

But lawyers representing Barts Health NHS Trust said hospital bosses would consider appealing against the ruling. Barrister Katie Gollop QC told Mr Justice MacDonald that his ruling could have implications for other children.

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,” he said.

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