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When parents of sick children don't get to decide


The parents of five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb, who is on life support, are going to the High Court to challenge an NHS decision which is preventing them from taking her abroad. 

Tafida Raqeeb suffered a traumatic brain injury in February as a result of a rare condition, arteriovenous malformation, where a tangle of blood vessels causes blood to bypass the brain tissue. Tafida's mother and father want to seek treatment in Italy. But the Royal London Hospital, which is caring for their daughter, says releasing her is not in her best interests.

A spokesperson for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said that its clinicians and independent medical experts had found "further medical treatment would not improve her condition".

In England and Wales the concept of parental responsibility is set out in law, in the Children Act 1989. This gives parents the responsibility broadly to decide what happens to their child, including the right to consent to medical treatment. But this right is not absolute. If a public body considers that a parent's choices are not in the best interests of their child, and an agreement cannot be reached, it can challenge these choices by going to court. It comes down to a judge to make the final decision, based on the evidence available.

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Source: BBC News, 2 September

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