Brain-damaged Tafida Raqeeb is out of intensive care in an Italian hospital after a High Court allowed her parents to travel to Genoa’s Gaslini for treatment after Barts Health NHS Trust recommended switching of her life support after suffering a traumatic brain injury when she was five years old.
Before she left for Genoa, the Whitechapel based hospital said they could not rule out a small spontaneous recovery and tried to block her parents taking Tafida being taken abroad for more treatment, saying ending her life support was in her best interests.
During the High Court trial Tafida’s mother, solicitor Shelina Begum, and father, construction consultant Mohammed Raqeeb, said doctors in Italy would continue to treat their daughter and argued that Islamic law said only God could take the decision to end her life.
Tafida arrived at Genoa's Gaslini hospital on 15th October and they were able to move her into residential pediatric hospice unit just before Christmas and in a press conference last week (8th January) the chief physician said that she had been stabilised and had been off a ventilator for a period of an hour at a time.
Following the news her mother, Shelina Begum, said the family's fight to prolong Tafida’s life had been vindicated.
In an interview with La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, doctors said they expected to continue "promoting the withdrawal of assisted breathing devices, which has already started" and denied the British doctors made a wrong diagnosis after medical staff in Genoa had completed a program the High Court deemed valid in the interest of the child.
Speaking about the treatment Dr Andrea Moscatelli said: "We stabilized it with a neurosurgery and performed a tracheotomy to improve respiratory function. She is now an hour detached from the fan: She begins to breathe autonomously. The goal is to consolidate this result."
The hospital said it will now try to stabilize Tafida to be cared for at home and have carried out various procedures to help stabilize her.
According to The Sun Moscatelli explained that with neurological damage such as Raqeeb’s, “the prognosis is practically impossible. We will know over time. We are trying to give this little girl time to understand if there’ll be a potential improvement, and much of that potential improvement is yet to be understood.”
Speaking at the press conference on January 8, Tafida’s mother, Shelina Begum, spoke positively about the treatment her daughter is receiving at Gaslini Hospital refused to go into more details so as to respect her daughter’s privacy, but did say that “in the next few months we should be able to give you some more good news on her improvement.”