Let Tafida Raqeeb go to Italy
VICTORY - 30 September 2019: Mr Justice MacDonald ruled that Tafida can go to Italy to continue with her treatment.
UPDATE - 23 September 2019: Following the end of the court hearing on Friday 13th September, Mr Justice MacDonald informed the court that the hearing would not be published until the week of 30th September as there are many complex issues of law at stake for him to consider. The judge praised the nobility and dignity of the way in which Tafida's family had conducted themselves during this terrible ordeal for the family. It is not yet too late for Tafida and there are many issues at stake in this case, including human dignity, the right to life and parent rights and responsibilities.
UPDATE - 13 August 2019: A five day court hearing has been scheduled for the week beginning September 9th, when a High Court judge will decide whether or not Tafida can be allowed to travel to Italy to receive the medical care which could save her life. In a number of press interviews, Tafida's mother has confirmed that her daughter is not terminally ill, but recovering from a brain bleed from which it will take time to recover. Tafida is able to breathe independently and it is hoped that once she is fitted with a tracheostomy and PEG feeding tube - treatment which was originally promised to the family, she may be able to be moved into a chair and begin a programme of rehabilitation. What Tafida needs most is time as it could take up to a year for the connections in her brain to re-establish.
UPDATE 17th July 2019: the President of Italy's Liguria region where Genoa's Gaslini Children's hospital is based, has spoken out in favour of Tafida's proposed transfer there, praising the medical excellence and humanity of the hospital. The Gaslini hospital has also confirmed that on 5th July a team of their specialists have sent documents to the Royal London and also held a videoconference with Tafida's medics.
This did not stop the Royal London from putting Tafida's family through the agony of an additional court hearing with half an hour's notice, on Tuesday 16 July.
Tafida Raqeeb is a five year old little girl who has been in a deep coma for a few months following a bleed on the brain whose life UK doctors want to end, even though she is not considered brain dead.
Until a few months ago, Tafida Raqeeb was a healthy 4 year old child with a bubbly, happy and friendly nature who according to her parents touched the hearts of everyone she met. Tragedy struck on the evening of 9th February of this year, when little Tafida was suddenly rushed to hospital when she fell unconscious after suffering a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM), in her brain which caused a bleed and sent her into cardiac and respiratory arrest.
Following extensive brain surgery at King’s College hospital, doctors informed her parents that she was brain dead and to consider making preparations for her funeral. A brain stem test indicated that Tafida did not meet the qualification of ‘brain death’ as she made gasping movements and therefore could not be removed from the ventilator.
The family sought advice from a number of independent neurosurgeons one of whom diagnosed Tafida as being in a deep coma, a fact of which they had not previously been made aware. A senior neurologist assessed Tafida and informed her parents that she was beginning to emerge from a deep coma and needed to be given time to recover - a process that could take up to a year.
In the aftermath of the initial brain stem test the medical team treating Tafida met with her family many times in order to suggest end of life care, which they refused. The subject was then dropped. Over the next two months Tafida’s family began to notice some small signs of improvement in her condition, such as her opening her eyes and beginning to move her limbs.
Tafida was then transferred to the Royal London Hospital where it was confirmed that she would be given a tracheostomy, which is standard care, and that there was the potential for her to go home where her recovery could continue.
In the intervening months Tafida has suffered a number of setbacks and her parents have been informed a number of times to prepare for her death, but she has fought back every single time, surviving an initial critical period where her death was thought inevitable and three further surgeries.
A few weeks ago Tafida’s parents were given half an hour’s notice of a meeting with her medical team where they were informed that the doctors intended to take measures to end her life and that if they did not agree they would be taken to court.
Two experts from the Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa have stated that they are willing to treat Tafida and that she would not qualify to be removed from life support as she is not brain dead. The Royal London hospital refuses to concede that there is any hope for her, despite the fact that she is able to swallow and reacts to pain.
The state does not own our children and our overstretched NHS should not be wasting precious resources in the form of sky-high legal fees. They should let Tafida go.
No parent ought to be in the situation of having to fight the state for the right for their child to receive privately-funded life-saving treatment. It is only fair that this little girl ought to be given the chance to make a recovery. Just because one hospital does not want to treat her, it does not give them the right to prevent other medics from helping her. Tell the Royal London hospital to release Tafida and give this gorgeous little girl a shot at a life.