Two British parents are asking the High Court for permission to take their daughter to Italy, after a dispute with doctors over her condition.
Tafida Raqeeb has been in a coma since February 9, after suffering a burst blood vessel in the brain. Two doctors at Genoa’s highly respected Gaslini Children’s Hospital have offered to care for her.
Why was it under-reported?
The story is very similar to the cases of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans: they were declared by doctors to be beyond help, just as five-year-old Raqeeb is believed to be by doctors at the Royal London Hospital: the doctors claim that “further invasive medical treatment is futile”, according to their NHS Trust.
And as with Alfie Evans, the parents have found supportive doctors in Italy, a more pro-life medical culture: in this case, the doctors have pointed out that Raqeeb is not brain dead.
It may be that the public is becoming desensitised to these stories.
What will happen next?
At the time of going to press, the High Court had not issued a judgment. However, in previous cases the courts have sided with British doctors who believe that medical support should be withdrawn. This is partly because courts are asked to rule on a child’s “best interests”, discounting the parents’ wishes.
A proposed reform, “Charlie’s Law”, would shift the balance, giving parents more of a voice. It has support from legal and medical experts – but it needs politicians to champion it.
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