"Clinicians (in England) don't think she has a quality of life."
A High Court in London is holding a hearing in which there is a dispute over five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb’s quality of life.
The child is brain-damaged and in a minimally conscious state.
Doctors treating Tafida at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel have said that she has permanent brain damage and has no chance of recovery.
Bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust want Mr Justice MacDonald to rule that stopping life-support treatment is in her best interests.
However, Tafida’s parents want to continue treatment. They want to move her to Gaslini children’s hospital in Genoa, Italy and have organised funding.
Shelina Begum and Mohammed Raqeeb have said doctors will continue to provide life-support treatment for their daughter until she is diagnosed as brain dead.
The dispute is being looked at by Mr Justice MacDonald.
Lawyers have taken legal action in Tafida’s name and a relative has given them instructions.
They claim that the child has been denied her right to elect to receive medical care in another European state.
Leading Tafida’s legal team is Vikram Sachdeva QC. He said:
“When you drill down it is based on differing views of what quality of life Tafida has.
“Clinicians (in England) don’t think she has a quality of life. Her parents do.”
Mr Sachdeva explained that the couple intended to take Tafida to a country where she would continue to receive life-support treatment and where the doctors view quality of life in line with their own.
It was heard that Tafida woke her parents during the early hours in February 2019 complaining of a headache.
A short while later, she collapsed and doctors discovered that blood vessels in her brain had burst.
Katie Gollop QC, leading the trust’s legal team, told the judge that no-one knew that some of the blood vessels in Tafida’s brain were “tangled up”.
The judge heard that Tafida was unable to swallow, taste or see.
Miss Gollop explained that Tafida may be able to “hear a little”, but cannot breathe for herself and cannot “experience touch” in large parts of her body.
She added that all the doctors who were asked for an opinion said that the child would never come off a ventilator and would always need artificial assistance.
This included a specialist from Great Ormond Street, London, and Italian medical professionals.
Miss Gollop said the doctors felt that Tafida was “beyond experience”.
She said that the Italian hospital was offering to continue life-support treatment as a “comfort” to the family.
Miss Gollop added that specialists at Gaslini Hospital would continue providing life-support treatment for parents who could pay and wanted the treatment to continue.
East London Advertiser reported that lawyers have told the judge that Tafida’s case has similarities to other life support treatment cases such as Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans and Isaiah Haastrup.
The hearing continues.