A hospital is holding a sick little girl 'against her will', the High Court heard yesterday.
Five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb is at the centre of an extraordinary legal tug-of-war.
Her anguished parents want to take her from the Royal London Hospital, where doctors believe it is in her best interests to die.
They want to move her to an Italian hospital which is offering to care for Tafida, who has a rare brain injury, in the hope that she may recover.
Five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb is at the centre of an extraordinary legal tug-of-war. Her anguished parents want to take her from the Royal London Hospital, where doctors believe it is in her best interests to die (Pictured in hospital last weekend)
Tafida's parents want to move her to an Italian hospital which is offering to care for her. She is suffering from a a rare brain injury
But the Royal London is refusing to allow her to be transferred, saying Tafida is beyond hope and it would be kinder to switch off her life support.
Today in a day of drama at the High Court, the hospital and the family launched separate cases against each other.
The hospital asked one judge to endorse doctors if they decided to withdraw treatment from Tafida if her condition worsened.
And simultaneously her family lodged a judicial review with another judge, demanding the hospital give them back their daughter. Their QC Jason Coppel told Mrs Justice Farbey: 'Her confinement is against her will, as expressed by her parents who are the sole people who currently have the legal right to make decisions for her.'
He said Tafida 'has been kept in the Royal London Hospital already for several days in the face of a request for her to leave'.
Tafida, who is in her reception year at primary school in Newham, east London, was struck down in her sleep on February 9 by a blood vessel in her brain bursting.
Diagnosed with a rare condition known as an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) rupture, she was rushed to brain surgery at King's College Hospital in London, and later transferred to the Royal London, where she is in intensive care on an artificial ventilator.
Today in a day of drama at the High Court, the hospital and the family launched separate cases against each other. The hospital asked one judge to give permission for doctors to withdraw treatment from Tafida (left and right) if her condition worsened.
Her parents are clinging to an independent doctor's assessment that she is in a coma and could recover. The hospital maintains she cannot.
Yesterday her father, construction consultant Mohammed Raqeeb, 45, kept a vigil at his stricken daughter's bedside while her mother, Shelina Begum, a 39-year-old London solicitor, went into battle at the High Court.
In one division of the court, barrister Mr Coppel was representing Tafida's family. But elsewhere, in the Family Court, Miss Begum was representing herself as Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London, made an emergency application to be allowed to withdraw treatment from her daughter, should her condition worsen in the next few days.
Miss Begum was given just a few hours' notice of this application. The hospital was represented by a QC, Katie Gollop, who previously fought on