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By Claudia Brick and Dominic Wilkinson.

The case of Tafida Raqeeb, currently being heard in the High Court, is the latest high profile legal battle between physicians and parents about life sustaining treatment for a seriously ill child. Since suffering a severe stroke in February, five-year old Tafida has been in intensive care at the Royal London hospital, dependent on mechanical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration. According to a statement made by the Barts Health NHS Trust, physicians believe that “further medical treatment would not improve her condition and would not be in her best interests”. Tafida’s parents disagree with this decision and have located doctors in Italy willing to treat their daughter. They have set up a crowdfunding page to try to raise £400,000 to cover treatment, travel and legal costs.

The vast majority of life and death decisions for seriously ill children are made in private, and through consensus between physicians and families. However, prominent cases of disagreement such as that of Tafida Raqeeb, Charlie Gard in 2017 and Alfie Evans in 2018 have brought challenging ethical questions to public attention. When is life worth living and when should treatment be withdrawn, if ever? How much say should parents have in making these decisions? When should scarce resources be considered, if at all?

…continue reading ‘What does the public think should happen?’

Image: By Brian Hall – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1786487

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Journal of Medical Ethics Blog

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