06:24, October 04 243 0 theguardian.com

2019-10-04 06:24:04
Parents of disabled child will not face new legal challenge

A couple given the go-ahead to move their severely disabled daughter to an Italian hospital will not face a further legal challenge.

Tafida Raqeeb’s parents won a high court battle on Thursday when a judge ruled that the five-year-old could be transferred to the Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa. Shelina Begum, 39, and Mohammed Raqeeb, 45, of Newham, east London, said they hoped to move Tafida in the next 10 days.

Bosses at the Royal London hospital, where Tafida is being treated, said they were considering an appeal against Mr Justice MacDonald’s decision, and the judge had been listed to oversee a further hearing on Friday. But they said on Friday morning they would not try to overturn the decision.

Alistair Chesser, the chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London hospital, said the trust had followed the guidance of the General Medical Council in referring the case to the courts to reach an independent view about Tafida’s best interests.

“The high court weighed up clinical and ethical considerations and decided, on the balance of evidence, that life-sustaining treatment should continue,” he said. “After careful consideration regarding the wider implications of the judgment, we have decided not to appeal.

“Our doctors and nurses will continue to provide Tafida with the best possible care as long as she continues to be our patient. We will also support the family as they make alternative arrangements for Tafida’s care.

He added: “This is a difficult situation for everyone involved, and we are grateful to the judge for his guidance about what is best for Tafida in the unique and unfortunate circumstances set out in his ruling.”

High court officials said the hearing listed before MacDonald would not now be staged.

Specialists at the Royal London hospital, where Tafida is receiving life-support, had opposed a move to Italy. They said further treatment would be futile because she had permanent brain damage, was in a minimally conscious state and had no chance of recovery.

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.

Begum and Raqeeb said doctors at the Gaslini would keep providing life-support treatment until Tafida was diagnosed as brain-dead. They said Tafida, who has a British-Bangladeshi background, was from a Muslim family and Islamic law allowed only God to end life.

MacDonald, who analysed evidence at a recent high court trial in London, said he had decided “on a fine balance” that it was in Tafida’s best interests for “life-sustaining treatment” to continue.

He said there could be no justification for stopping her parents moving her to the Italian hospital if they wanted to.