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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Bishop offers prayers for Tafida Raqeeb and family

Bishop John Sherrington, the lead bishop for life Issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has offered his prayers to five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb and her family.

Tafida, from Newham, east London, suffered a traumatic brain injury in February 2019, and has been in a coma ever since. She is currently in Royal London Hospital, where doctors say there is no hope she will recover from the injury and said it was in her best interests to be allowed to die, according to the BBC.

However, clinicians at the Giannina Gaslini Institute, a world-renowned children’s hospital in Genoa, Italy, have offered Tafida treatment and her parents have asked a High Court judge to force the Royal London to let her travel abroad.

Doctors from Royal London ‘remained adamant’ they would not allow the patient to leave, according to legal documents, the BBC reported.

A trust spokesman said they are “in close contact with the family to offer support” and “to ensure we uphold the child’s best interests, recommending withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and instigating palliative care”.

Bishop John Sherrington told The Catholic Universe: “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,” the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster continued.

“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 co-operation is essential good practice in the care of tragically difficult lives.”

Picture: Bishop John Sherrington.