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Parents ask UK court for permission to move comatose daughter to Italy

Tafida Raqeeb
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In echoes of the Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans cases, parents are fighting to keep child alive.

Parents of a comatose five-year old are seeking permission from a UK court to move their daughter to Italy to seek medical treatment after British doctors ordered the removal of life support.

Tafida Raqeeb suffered a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) on February 9, and has been in a coma her since. An AVM is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins, which resulted in respiratory arrest and a traumatic brain injury, according to a Catholic News Agency report.

According to CNA, doctors at the Royal London Hospital determined that “further invasive medical treatment is futile.” Tafida’s parents have since consulted doctors at Gaslini Children’s Hospital in Genoa Italy, who examined the child by video link, and agreed to treat her in Italy. 

While UK doctors have said she is brain dead and has no chance of recovery, the doctors in Italy do not believe that to be the case.

An online petition calling for the Royal London Hospital to allow Tafida to be transferred to Genoa makes the case that she is not brain dead:

“Following extensive brain surgery at King’s College hospital, doctors informed her parents that she was brain dead and to consider making preparations for her funeral,” reads the petition.

“A brain stem test indicated that Tafida did not meet the qualification of ‘brain death’ as she made gasping movements and therefore could not be removed from the ventilator.”

The case echoes that of two terminally ill children who recently died in the UK, Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans. In the 2017 case of Charlie Gard, the 11-month old died after doctors removed his life support. His parents had requested permission to move him to the United States for further treatment.  Months later, toddler Alfie Evans’s parents sought to have him treated in Italy, but he died in five days after doctors removed him from his ventilator.

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