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Parents of brain-damaged girl call for change in law

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Tafida Raqeeb suffered a traumatic brain injury in February and clinicians at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel have said there is no hope for her and that it is in her best interests to be allowed to die.

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The mother of a severely brain-injured girl who has earned the right to take her daughter abroad for treatment tells Sky News that the law needs to be amended to protect parental rights.

A Supreme Court judge ruled Thursday that five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb could be transferred to the children's hospital Gaslini in Italy.

Experts caring for Tafida at Royal London Hospital said additional treatment would be useless because the youngster has permanent brain damage and has no chance of recovery.

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Tafida suffered a traumatic brain injury in February (Save Tafida Facebook page)

But her parents, Shelina Begum, 39, and Mohammed Raqeeb, 45, from Newham, East London, said Gaslini's doctors in Genoa will continue to provide life-supportive treatment until Tafida is diagnosed as brain dead.

At a celebratory meal at the Cinnamon Spice restaurant in north London, Begum told Sky News: "Every day I really fell apart. I was petrified. What will it be? A life sentence or a death sentence?"

They said that Tafida, of British and Bangladeshi origin, is from a Muslim family and Islamic law allows only God to end life.

The family spoke after the court victory over their daughter Tafida.
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The family spoke after the court victory over their daughter

"The government needs to revise the law so that another family does not go through what we have, or what previous families have gone through," Begum said.

"Parental rights should never be withdrawn."

The High Court heard how Tafida woke her parents in the early hours of February, complaining of a headache.

It collapsed shortly afterwards and doctors found that the blood vessels in the brain were tangled and had ruptured.

Judge MacDonald, who reviewed evidence at a recent London trial, said he had decided "in a good balance" that it was in Tafida's best interest for the "life-sustaining treatment" to continue.

He said there was no justification for preventing her parents from taking her to the Italian hospital if they wanted to.

The mother of a seriously ill five-year-old girl, Tafida Raqeeb, has asked doctors not to block the family's attempt to bring her to Italy for treatment they hope could save her life.
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Tafida may go to Italy for treatment

The hospital said it would not appeal the decision.

Alistair Chesser, medical director of the Barts Health NHS Trust, which manages the Royal London Hospital, said: "We have followed the advice of the General Medical Council and referred this tragic case to the Supreme Court Family Division for an independent view on The Best Interests. Tafida

"The Supreme Court considered clinical and ethical considerations and decided, in the balance of evidence, that life-sustaining treatment should continue.

"After careful consideration of the broader implications of the trial, we decided not to appeal.

"Our doctors and nurses will continue to provide Tafida with the best care possible as long as she remains our patient.

"We will also support the family as they make alternative arrangements for Tafida care."

The mother of a severely brain-injured girl who has earned the right to take her daughter abroad for treatment tells Sky News that the law needs to be amended to protect parental rights.
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The family celebrated their victory in court

Tafida's parents created a page on GoFundMe to raise £ 400,000 for their care.

On the site, he says he needs "£ 20,000 to pay Tafida for air travel to Italy and about £ 100,000 to cover the costs of ongoing life-sustaining treatment."

So far, they have raised just over £ 37,000.

"Tafida will prove to everyone who found her wrong," Begum said.

"She's already showing us, she just needs time."

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