Five-year old Tafida is allowed to live

3 October 2019

Tafida Raqueeb

Five-old Tafida Raqeeb can be taken to Italy for treatment by her parents, a court ruled today.

SPUC described the ruling as a ‘victory for human life and justice’. The harrowing case was a hard fought battle between Tafida’s parents who want to take their very sick child to a hospital in Italy, where doctors will continue life-support, and the Barts Health NHS Trust, which claims that removing life support is in the child’s best interests.

Not valuing life

Reacting to the news, Dr Anthony McCarthy, SPUC Director of Research, said: ‘Our hearts go out to Tafida and her parents, whose precious daughter has been allowed to live. The court ruling sends an important message to the doctors at the Royal London Hospital that their view of Tafida’s life was wrong. It has always been clear that ventilation and transferring Tafida to Italy would not in fact have been harmful and any costs would not have fallen on the NHS."

Tafida, from Newham in east London, became ill very suddenly in February of this year, sustaining a rare form of brain damage. She is not dying, is in a stable condition, and her mother has consistently reported that her daughter is making small signs of progress.

Parental rights

Tafida’s parents, Shelina Begum and Mohammed Raqeeb, brought a judicial review against the Barts Trust decision not to allow her to go to the Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa.

Dr McCarthy said: ‘Tafida’s parents were exercising their right to make decisions about their child. If their daughter would have been significantly harmed or put at risk by the journey to Italy or by continued ventilation, the State could have rightly intervened.

“Happily today we have seen a just resolution. Mr and Mrs Raqeeb’s reasonable request to do the best they could for their child has been upheld, albeit with the prospect of further anguish and struggle to protect Tafida’s life. We wish these loving and valiant parents every success in caring for their child.”

Lawyers representing Barts Health NHS Trust said hospital bosses would consider appealing against the ruling. Dr McCarthy said: “The decision to appeal shows that elements of the medical profession are sticking to the sinister path on which the most basic rights of citizens have been repeatedly overturned by those on high.”