hrf

Footage shows terminally ill five-year-old responding to mother’s voice


Tafida Raqeeb
Tafida Raqeeb

NEWLY released footage shows a terminally ill five-year-old who is in the midst of a legal tug of war responding to her mother’s voice.

Tafida Raqeeb’s parents want to take her from Royal London Hospital to Italy for treatment. But doctors at the Royal London Hospital said there was no hope she would recover from a traumatic brain injury she suffered in February.

But in new footage, Tafida appears to be looking at her mother, Shelina Begum, and responding to her voice.

Speaking to the media earlier this week, Begum said Tafida was showing clear signs of improvement.

“Tafida has a clear sleep-and-wake cycle. She reacts to pains, she reacts to my voice, she opens her eyes – those are clear signs she is improving, she’s coming out.”

Begum added: “Our world has been turned upside down. Her dad is traumatised. And I cry to bed every night, thinking what my daughter is going through.”

Tafida was struck down in her sleep on February 9 by a blood vessel in her brain bursting. She was diagnosed with a rare condition known as AVM (arteriovenous malformation) rupture, and had brain surgery at King’s College Hospital in London. She was later transferred to the Royal London and has been on a ventilator.

Her parents believe she could recover.

They want to take her to the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa, Italy, and under Italian law she would “not satisfy the conditions of brain death, and so would not be a subject for the active withdrawal of care.”

But Royal London hospital doctors believe she would not recover.

The hospital and the family have launched cases against each other. The hospital wants one judge to endorse doctors if they decided to withdraw treatment from Tafida if her condition worsened. And her family has lodged a judicial review with another judge demanding the hospital let them take their daughter.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London, said: “This is a very sad case, for which we are in close contact with the family to offer support.

“Our expert clinicians caring for the child have determined, in discussion with additional independent medical experts elsewhere in London, that further invasive medical treatment is futile.

“As such we are engaging with the family to ensure we uphold the child’s best interests, recommending withdrawal of life sustaining treatment and instigating palliative care.”