Intended for healthcare professionals


Parents of girl with severe brain damage can take her to Italy for treatment, High Court rules

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 03 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5875
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

The parents of a 5 year old girl with irreversible catastrophic brain damage may be taken to Italy for treatment, a High Court judge has ruled.1

Doctors caring for Tafida Raqeeb at the Royal London Hospital asked the court to declare that it would be in her best interests to have life support withdrawn, allowing her to die. But her parents, Shelina Begum and Mohammed Raqeeb, who are devout Muslims, wanted to take her to a hospital in Italy, where only brain stem death justifies withholding treatment, and have arranged funding for her treatment there.

In a case he described as “very finely balanced” Mr Justice MacDonald said, “I am on balance not satisfied that I can conclude on the evidence before the court that life sustaining treatment is no longer …

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