There’s a case for giving the parents of sick children greater say in conflicts with the NHS

Consciously or not, does the medical profession perhaps take a different attitude to parents whose beliefs might lie outside the mainstream?

On life support: Tafida Raqeeb collapsed at her home in east London in February after blood vessels in her brain ruptured
On life support: Tafida Raqeeb collapsed at her home in east London in February after blood vessels in her brain ruptured

It may be both a blessing and a curse for the family of five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb that the UK public and media currently have other things on their minds.

On the one hand, her relatives are benefiting from a degree of privacy they might otherwise not have had as proceedings started in the High Court this week. On the other, it has meant that the case and the smiling face of Tafida are not featuring as prominently as they might in the public discussion. And that is, to my mind at least, to be regretted.

Tafida is the latest small child whose fate rests with the UK courts, having become the subject of a high-stakes legal tussle between parents and doctors. The small girl collapsed in February after complaining of a headache. Doctors found that blood vessels in her brain had ruptured, and there was nothing that could be done. Barts Health NHS Trust, which is responsible for the Royal London Hospital where she is being treated, wants to stop life support, arguing that this is in the child’s best interests.

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