Mother in court battle to save critically ill daughter’s life with treatment abroad says: we will not let her die – Evening Standard

Mother in court battle to save critically ill daughter’s life with treatment abroad says: we will not let her die – Evening Standard

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A mother has issued an emotional plea for her critically ill daughter, 5, to be treated abroad and said: “we will not let her die”.

Tafida Raqeeb suffered a traumatic brain injury in February and has since been on life support at the Royal London Hospital.

Doctors in the UK have said it is in her best interests to be allowed to die.

But the child’s mother Shelina Begum, 39, has insisted that Tafida “just needs time”.

The parents of the seriously ill five-year-old have launched a legal challenge (PA)

Before the case reaches the High Court in September, the family have issued an appeal to help raise funds for treatment in Italy.

Ms Begum told the Sun: “She has survived three surgeries. She just needs time.

“Her brain is injured but it is not terminally damaged. We will not just let her die.”

Tafida’s parents, Ms Begum, a solicitor, and Mohammed Raqeeb, 45, a construction consultant, take her to Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa for treatment.

Tafida Raqeeb, 5, is currently being treated at the Royal London Hospital (file photo) (PA)

On their GoFundMe page, they wrote: “At present, she shows gradual but very encouraging signs of recovery.

“A team in the Royal London Hospital, where she is being treated, has decided, however, that it would be in her ‘best interests’ that her life is ended. We, her parents, strongly disagree.”

The couple, from Newham, east London, said experts at the Italian hospital are willing to treat Tafida and believe she could emerge from her coma in a few months.

“We believe Tafida should be given the chance of life, and the opportunity to recover, and the Gaslini Children’s Hospital … shares our opinion.

“Doctors there are willing to treat Tafida but the Royal London Hospital is trying to stop us, and is thereby denying our wishes and surely our right as parents to act in what we know to be the best interests of our beloved daughter.”

Barts Health NHS Trust, which covers the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel where Tafida is being treated, said in a statement issued last month: “This is a very sad case, for which we are in close contact with the family to offer support.

“Our expert clinicians caring for Tafida Raqeeb have determined, in discussion with additional independent medical experts elsewhere in London, that further invasive medical treatment is futile.

“As such we are ensuring that we keep the family involved and uphold Tafida’s best interests, recommending withdrawal of life sustaining treatment and instigating palliative care.”

The family said: “We desperately require funds to meet our legal costs, which will run into tens of thousands of pounds.”

They added: “Should we succeed, we will also need to find an additional £20,000 to pay for Tafida to be airlifted to Italy and about £100,000 to cover the costs of on-going life sustaining treatment.”

The family said Tafida “is not dying, she is not brain dead and nor does she have any underlying medical or genetic conditions”.

They added: “She has a sleep and wake cycle, she can feel pain, she is able to move her limbs, face, lips, mouth and head and she can track us with her eyes as we move around the room.”

By the early hours of Tuesday, more than 100 donors had contributed more than £13,000 on the GoFundMe page – with one anonymous donor pledging £10,000.

The case bears similarities to that of Charlie Gard, who died in July 2017 after his parents lost their legal battle to take him to the US for experimental treatment they hoped could give him a “meaningful life”.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates wanted him moved from Great Ormond Street Hospital, but a High Court judge ruled it would be in Charlie’s best interests to be allowed to die – a decision which was upheld on appeal.


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