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Sick five-year-old at centre of High Court battle arrives in Italy

PUBLISHED: 09:40 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:52 16 October 2019

Tafida Raqeeb's parents Mohammed Raqeeb and Shelina Begum (centre) at an official welcome outside the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Tafida Raqeeb's parents Mohammed Raqeeb and Shelina Begum (centre) at an official welcome outside the Gaslini Hospital in Genoa. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

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.

Five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb suffered a brain injury. Picture: Raqeeb familyFive-year-old Tafida Raqeeb suffered a brain injury. Picture: Raqeeb family

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, October 15, arriving at Genoa Airport as darkness fell.

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.

An ambulance carrying Tafida Raqeeb, five, leaves Genoa Airport in Italy as she is transported to the city's Gaslini children's hospital. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireAn ambulance carrying Tafida Raqeeb, five, leaves Genoa Airport in Italy as she is transported to the city's Gaslini children's hospital. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

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

Tafida's parents, of Upton Park, 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 Whitechapel hospital where Tafida was being treated disagreed.

Tafida's parents Shelina Begum and Mohammed Raqeeb. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireTafida's parents Shelina Begum and Mohammed Raqeeb. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

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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".

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".

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