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Tafida Raqeeb at age 4
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Italian hospital offers help to 5-year-old girl who UK doctors want to unplug from life support

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

GENOA, Italy, July 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An Italian hospital has offered to treat a little girl who suffered a sudden stroke and is now fighting for her life against doctors who have taken legal steps to remove her from life support and let her die. 

According to Italian news site Genova 24, the Giannina Gaslini Institute, a world-renowned children’s hospital in Genoa, has confirmed that it received a request at the end of June from the parents of five-year-old Tafida Raqueeb for a “second opinion” regarding her condition. 

Tafida suffered a ruptured blood vessel in February 2019, and is now lying in Royal London Hospital in a minimally conscious state. Although her parents Shalina and Mohammed believe that her condition is improving, Tafida’s doctors have gone to court for permission to remove the girl from a ventilator, which they believe will hasten her death.  

Genova 24 reported that in response to Tafida’s parents’ request, the Gaslini Institute has organized a team of specialists to treat the girl. The team sent a document to Tafida’s London doctors, and subsequently had a video-conference with them. 

Tafida’s parents hope to transport their daughter to the Italian hospital at their own expense. The local news site added that treatment of patients does not end in Italy until the patient is “brain dead.” 

Italian media are comparing the case of five-year-old Tafida to those of Charlie Gard, who died in 2017 at the age of 11 months, 24 days, and Alfie Evans, who died in 2018 eleven days before his second birthday. Charlie had been diagnosed with Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome and Alfie with GABA-transaminase deficiency. Both boys were treated by doctors who went to court for permission to bring about their deaths by removing their ventilators, and both had parents who wished to transfer them for experimental treatment in foreign hospitals.  

In the Charlie Gard case, both New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome were willing to treat the sick child. The Bambino Gesù was similarly willing to treat Alfie Evans, whose father attempted, and failed, to remove him from Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital to a waiting helicopter. However, in both cases British judges ruled in favor of the hospitals, and the boys died after being removed from life support. Charlie died the next day; Alfie hung on, breathing on his own, for five days. 

Both cases attracted an enormous following in Italy, Poland, and the United States where there was a great outpouring of sympathy for the children and their parents and criticism of the English hospitals involved and the British justice system. 

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