Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, has commented on the tragic illness and circumstances of five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb.
Tafida has been in a coma since 9 February, after she suffered from a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which resulted in cardiac and respiratory arrest and a traumatic brain injury. Doctors at the Royal London Hospital where Tafida is being kept of a life-support machine said there was no chance she could recover from her coma and want to withdraw her ventilation.
However, doctors from the Gaslini Children's Hospital in Genoa who examined Tafida by video link have said they would be willing to care for her in Italy, and that she would not satisfy the conditions for brain death or be subject to withdrawal of life support there. The family have now launched a legal appeal to be allowed to take Tafida to Italy.
Bishop Sherrington said: "The tragic illness and circumstances of little Tafida Raqeeb will touch everyone who hears of it. I hope it will also move them to pray, as it does me.
"I pray for this little girl that she and her parents are strengthened by the presence of God, by the mercy of God and by the support of all who know and love her.
"Difficult dilemmas have to be faced. In that process, I hope that all due weight will be given to the wishes of her parents, while also respecting the clinical judgement of the doctors caring for her. Those of us not in possession of all the relevant information might best be reserved in our judgement.
"I trust that the doctors from the Gaslini Children's Hospital in Genoa will be given time and opportunity to come to a well-informed view and to share their prognosis with their colleagues here in London. Such international cooperation is essential good practice in the care of tragically difficult lives."
The family have also launched an on-line petition appealing for parliament to allow them to take the child to Italy. See the petition HERE
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