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Five-year-old at centre of High Court life support battle is out of intensive care

PUBLISHED: 18:00 09 January 2020

Five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb is in a coma after suffering a brain injury. Picture: Family handout

Five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb is in a coma after suffering a brain injury. Picture: Family handout

Family handout

A five-year-old girl at the centre of a life support court battle is out of intensive care, doctors at the Italian hospital treating her have confirmed.

Tafida Raqeeb fell into a coma in February last year after a blood vessel burst in the previously healthy youngster's brain.

Since October, she has been treated at the Gaslini children's hospital in Genoa, Italy after her parents Shelina Begum and Mohammed Raqeeb won a High Court battle to keep her alive.

Tafida, from Upton Park, was originally treated at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, where doctors had said she had no awareness or prospect of recovering and argued it was in her best interests for treatment to be withdrawn.

But since being transferred to Italy, her condition has improved to a stage that no longer requires her to receive intensive care.

Doctors confirmed on Wednesday, January 8 that Tafida has been transferred to a residential unit for children with chronic or incurable illnesses, where she will receive rehabilitative care and be partially weaned off assisted ventilation.

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Andrea Moscatelli, who leads Gaslini's neonatal intensive care unit, said that Tafida had "very serious neurological damage" and that a prognosis was "practically impossible" to determine.

He added: "We are trying to give this little girl time to understand if there'll be a potential improvement, and much of that potential improvement is yet to be understood."

Medics hope to get Tafida to a stage where it would be possible for her parents to look after her at home.

Ms Begum, who travelled to Italy with her daughter, thanked doctors for taking care of Tafida.

She said: "Today is an extremely special day for us because Tafida is finally out of intensive care.

"I would also like to say that the opinion expressed by British doctors before the High Court and the prognosis made has been proven incorrect. We should be able to give you good news in the coming months."

Paolo Petralia, director general of Gaslini, added: "We are happy to have welcomed Tafida to the Gaslini Institute, granting the wish of her parents, who have asked for time and all the best quality of life possible for their child since, unfortunately, it is not always possible to cure but it is always necessary to offer a space of care and welcome to a child and their parents."

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