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Disabled five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb arrives in Italy

A judge ruled earlier this month that Tafida could be moved from the Royal London Hospital to Genoa.

Mohammed Raqeeb looks on as his daughter Tafida arrives at Genoa airport in Italy (Joe Giddens/ PA)
Mohammed Raqeeb looks on as his daughter Tafida arrives at Genoa airport in Italy (Joe Giddens/ PA)

By Sam Russell, PA in Genoa

A severely disabled five-year-old girl whose parents won a High Court battle to move her abroad to continue her life-support treatment has arrived in Italy.

A judge ruled earlier this month that Tafida Raqeeb could be moved from the Royal London Hospital to the Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa.

The youngster was taken by chartered plane from the UK on Tuesday, arriving at Genoa Airport as darkness fell.

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Tafida Raqeeb’s parents Shelina Begum and Mohammed Raqeeb at Genoa airport in Italy before their daughter is transported to the city’s Gaslini children’s hospital (Joe Giddens/PA)

Medical staff carried her from the aircraft and onto a trolley, and she was wheeled across the tarmac to a waiting ambulance.

Her mother Shelina Begum hugged someone as the ambulance was readied, and her father Mohammed Raqeeb appeared deep in thought.

Two police cars sounded their sirens as they led the ambulance to the hospital with their blue lights flashing.

Tafida’s parents, of Newham, east London, had said life-support treatment should continue.

They also said they should be allowed to move their daughter to a hospital of their choice.

Bosses at the London hospital where Tafida was being treated disagreed.

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Tafida Raqeeb arrives at Genoa airport (Joe Giddens/PA)

Specialists at the Royal London Hospital said further treatment would be futile because the youngster had permanent brain damage, was in a minimally conscious state and had no chance of recovery.

Mr Justice MacDonald ruled in favour of Tafida’s parents after analysing evidence at a High Court trial in London.

Tafida’s parents said they thought that she had a “quality of life”.

They said they wanted to take Tafida to a country where she would keep getting life-support treatment and where doctors’ views on quality of life were in line with their own.

Lawyers representing Royal London Hospital bosses told Mr Justice MacDonald that blood vessels in Tafida’s brain were “tangled up”.

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An ambulance carrying Tafida Raqeeb leaves Genoa airport (Joe Giddens/PA)

They said the youngster could not swallow, taste, see, breathe for herself, or “experience touch” in large parts of her body.

The judge was told that all doctors asked for an opinion, including Italian medics and a specialist at Great Ormond Street in London, agreed that Tafida would never come off a ventilator and would always need artificial assistance.

He heard how specialist doctors thought Tafida was “beyond experience”.

PA

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