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  1. ITV Report

Parents who want to take critically ill Tafida to Italy win court bid to extend life support

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

A couple who want to move their critically ill five-year-old daughter to an Italian hospital have won a High Court battle to extend her treatment.

Tafida Raqeeb has been cared for at the Royal London Hospital after suffering a traumatic brain injury in February.

Her parents, solicitor Shelina Begum, and father, construction consultant Mohammed Raqeeb, organised funding to move their daughter to Gaslini children's hospital in Genoa, Italy.

They said doctors there would keep providing life-support treatment until Tafida was diagnosed as brain dead.

But specialists at the London hospital 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 have now won a High Court legal challenge, which means they can transfer their daughter to the hospital in Italy.

Tafida’s parents Mohammed Raqeeb and Shelina Begum have won their court bid to extend their daughter's life support. Credit: 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.”

Ms Begum said the legal fight had been "exhausting and traumatic" but was "glad it is now finally over."

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.

Solicitor Paul Conrathe of Sinclairslaw, who represented Tafida's parents, said after the hearing: "Today the court ruled that Tafida should be allowed to be treated in Italy as her parents requested many months ago.

"Tafida is not in pain and could live for up to a further 20 years.

"This judgment recognised however that a child's best interests are not merely medical, but include broader social and religious values. It also recognised the legal right of parents to request life-prolonging treatment in another EU state so that their child can be treated under that system of care and ethics.

"It has been a very challenging and exhausting journey for Tafida's parents. They look forward to her receiving outstanding care at the Gaslini hospital in Genoa. They will also feel at peace knowing that Tafida will be cared for under the Italian ethical and legal system."

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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.