Parents of girl, 5, with ruptured blood vessel in her brain launch legal action to force doctors to keep her alive
A desperate family is asking doctors, who want to end their child's life, to let their five-year-old girl go so they can get her treated in the hands of other practitioners who claim that she will become alright. The parents have now launched a legal bid to keep her alive and plan to seek judicial review at the High Court in London.
Shelina Begum, 39, and 45-year-old Mohammed Raqeeb's daughter suffered from a traumatic brain injury in February 2019 at their home in Newham, East London, and has been in the hospital since.
According to a petition started by her parents, little Tafida ruptured a blood vessel in her brain and is currently on the life support machine at Royal London Hospital (RLH). Practitioners at RLH have told her parents there is no hope she will recover, and it would be kinder to let her die.
The parents say that they have found a European hospital willing to continue treatment for Tafida but RLH is refusing to let her go. The parents have now sent a letter to Barts Health NHS Trust informing the organization of their plan to launch a judicial review at the High Court in the matter.
"We are in a desperate situation and just want to save our daughter. She is not brain dead, she has shown signs of progress such as opening her eyes and moving her limbs," the mother said. "There are experienced and respected doctors who are willing to treat Tafida, to give her the chance at life she so deserves. We simply want the chance to be allowed to try. It breaks our hearts to be told that she is not allowed to leave the hospital," she said.
"We know Tafida's chances may be small, but we cannot give up on her when there is a possible treatment that might work. If she is still fighting, then we have to carry on fighting for her," she further added. The family have decided that they would like to take Tafida to Italy to continue the treatment.
On February 9, Tafida had a cardiac arrest and a respiratory attack because of which she had to get brain surgery. The neurosurgeons had told the family that the first 48 hours to 1 week would be critical for her post-surgery, their petition states. But "like the determined little child, we knew her as she fought hard. 5 months later, Tafida is beginning to show some signs of progress, such as reacting to pain, movement of limbs and opening and closing of eyes," the petition reads.
The doctors had initially wanted to go ahead with tracheostomy which would allow her to get off the ventilator, but they have now changed their opinion, the mother said. A spokesman for the Royal London Hospital reportedly said that they are in "contact with the family to offer support" but that further treatment would go in vain. "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."