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Tafida Raqeeb: Brain-damaged girl 'should be allowed to die'

Tafida Raqeeb Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Tafida Raqeeb's parents want to move her to a children's hospital in Genoa, Italy

Hospital bosses have asked a High Court judge to reject a couple's bid to move their brain-damaged daughter from London to Italy.

Doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel say there is no hope five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb will recover from a brain injury.

Tafida's parents want to move her to a children's hospital in Genoa.

But Barts Health NHS Trust wants Mr Justice MacDonald to rule stopping life-support is in her best interests.

Her parents, from Newham, east London, say doctors at the Gaslini hospital will keep providing life-support treatment until Tafida is diagnosed as being brain dead.

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Tafida's mother said her daughter was opening her eyes and moving her limbs

They claim trust bosses are unlawfully discriminating against them by preventing a move to Italy.

But Katie Gollop QC, representing the trust, said medics and judges in England and Wales had a "legal duty" to put a child's best interests, not parents' wishes, first.

She told the court Tafida's parents wanted the right to go to a country where they were the "sole decision makers" but argued it was not in the child's "medical best interests".

The judge has been told Tafida woke her parents in the early hours in February complaining of a headache.

She collapsed shortly afterwards and doctors discovered that blood vessels in her brain had ruptured.

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Tafida and her father Mohammed Raqeeb

Ms Gollop told the court Tafida could now not swallow, taste or see and all medical experts involved in the case - including those in Italy - agreed she "has no awareness and there is no prospect of recovery".

She said it appeared the Italian hospital would continue providing life support "as a comfort to the family" with "no evidence at all that they had made any assessment of the best interests of Tafida."

Keeping the five-year-old alive artificially would mean she would likely suffer seizures, hip dislocation and curvature of the spine, Ms Gollop said.

The case is due to continue at the High Court until Friday.

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