Disturbing footage has been revealed in which police have violently dragged away a dad from his terminally ill daughter’s bedside in hospital, just moments after he was told her life support would be being withdrawn.
Police bodycam footage has come to light in which officers snatched Dr Rashid Abbasi, 58, away from his dying daughter and then handcuffed him. To restrain him further, they strapped his legs together, as he refused to leave his terminally ill daughter’s side.
Having worked at the NHS for over 30 years as a health consultant, Dr Abbasi and his wife Aliya, a former doctor, have now found themselves in a dispute over the care their daughter Zainab received from the staff.
The incident began when a member of staff at the North of England hospital reported Dr Abbasi to police, as he had pushed a doctor who told him he would need to leave his daughter’s bedside.
However, the dad claims that the polices’ behaviour towards him was completely unnecessary as they “behaved like barbarians”. Whilst wrenching him from his dying daughter, one held onto him by his neck, all the while he still clutched onto his daughter’s hand.
The dad has now launched legal proceedings into the matter.
In the police bodycam video, Dr Abbasi’s wife is shown to be grabbed from behind and then pulled away from the bedside. Screaming at the officers to show the family some “compassion”, the heartbroken mum fell to the floor.
Aliya said that she and her husband were treated “like scum”.
The 58-year-old health consultant is adamant that he wasn’t abusive or violent in any way and he then added that the police had to de-arrest him, as he suffered from a heart attack.
The footage, which was captured on August 19, shows that the officers repeatedly asked the parents to leave their daughter’s bedside so that they could talk outside.
Yet Dr Abbasi was determined to stay with his daughter and whilst holding on her hand stated: “I am not leaving”.
Mrs Abbasi is then heard pleading with the police, asking for them to show some “compassion” in their difficult situation.
She explained to them: “We have just been told about half an hour ago that they are going to take the tube out and our daughter is going to die.”
Realising that the couple were not going to leave, Dr Abbasi claims that one of the police officers approached him and used a metal spiked instrument in order to unclasp his hand from his daughter’s.
A struggle then followed and Dr Abbasi is heard yelling: “What are you doing to my wife?”
The devastated mum was then pulled away from her husband and terminally ill daughter.
Due to the shock and trauma of the situation, Dr Abbasi then began to suffer a heart attack. He told the officers he had pains in his chest and then he had to beg them to retrieve his medication inside his pocket.
Forced to the floor and arrested, a female police officer told the devastated dad: “You’re acting like an animal, it’s disgusting.”
He was then told that he had brought on this situation by himself.
The police officers then took him to A&E after he had been given his medication. The dad had been separated from his daughter after being strapped down with his legs and ankles tied up. He was wheeled away on a trolley.
Dr Abbasi claims that before he was given the medication, the police officers ignored his pleas for help due to pains in his heart and that one of the officers actually kicked him.
The following day, the grieving dad underwent an emergency angioplasty and it was confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack.
Dr Abassi has said that since the incident, his health has never been the same and he has had to undergo two emergency procedures.
He told the Mail on Sunday: “The pictures speak for themselves. They behaved like barbarians. They were not prepared to listen. My daughter was given a death sentence half an hour before they arrived.”
After the traumatic incident, the NHS trust then applied to the High Court and requested that Zainab, Dr Abbasi’s daughter, be taken off the ventilator.
Zainab had suffered from a rare genetic illness called Niemann-Pick disease, which she was diagnosed with at three-years-old.
Dr Abbasi’s daughter passed away on September 16, three days before the court hearing was meant to begin.
The hospital hasn’t been identified due to legal reasons.
The grieving dad has told Sky News that since the incident, his life has been like a “living nightmare”.
Dr Abbasi and his wife had been adamant that they had never wanted to take her off the ventilator, they didn’t believe it was the right thing to do.
As their daughter’s health had been rapidly declining, the family found themselves in a bitter row with the hospital over what was the right thing to do.
Mrs Abbasi claims that the day before the incident took place, that she had come to an agreement with hospital staff that Zainab would be weened off the machine and her treatment “maximised”.
She commented: “They did none of that, so it was a breakdown of trust.”
Dr Abbasi added: “They never listened to us, they would never provide explanations for their actions. I’m a chest consultant and have worked in the NHS for 30 years.
“The disease Zainab was suffering is not uncommon in adult populations, so I was able to ask leading questions.”
Following his arrest and the heart attack, Dr Abbasi was told that he could see his daughter again but it would be under strict conditions. The dad had to be escorted through the building and was prevented from asking the doctors any questions in which there was any challenging of his daughter’s care. He was also given a two-hour visiting window.
Although the couple weren’t threatened again with the immediate extubation of their daughter, the steroid treatment she had been given to survive was slowly being withdrawn.
Last year, a trial was set for September by hospital staff with an anonymity order, which was to request authorisation of withdrawing Zainab from life support.
Yet on September 15, the young woman’s condition dramatically deteriorated. Fearful, her parents secured two emergency telephone hearings in which they argued for an escalation of life-saving steroid treatment for their dying daughter.
The application was refused and the following morning, Zainab passed away.
In regards to the medical care of their daughter, the Abbasis claim that they felt it was a “toxic environment”.
Dr Abbasi said in a statement: “I reacted as any father would who is suffering from grief, but I also knew in my professional capacity that my daughter was purposefully not receiving the treatment she needed to live.
“For challenging this and trying to protect my daughter’s life, I was treated like a criminal and an animal. This was brutal and unacceptable, but we want to emphasise that it was the doctors and the hospital who escalated the situation and involved the police unnecessarily.
“Ultimately, this story is about life and the value the NHS places on life and the wishes and rights of the parents involved.
“We are still grieving deeply, but we have no choice but to expose what has happened and to fight for justice for our daughter.
“We insist that what happened to Zainab should be rigorously investigated by an independent and impartial tribunal.”
Christian Concern, a charity, has been supporting the Abbasi family alongside the Christian Legal Centre, the charity has said: “The case, hitherto unknown to the public, is reminiscent of the high-profile tragedies of Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard.
“Zainab was suffering from a rare life-limiting neurodegenerative condition called Niemann-Pick Disease. Unrelated to that, she also contracted swine flu at the age of two, which led to serious respiratory problems which required treatment.
“The parents believe that the doctors became increasingly reluctant to treat even the treatable respiratory problems because of her underlying life-limiting neurodegenerative disease.
“Fighting for her life was seen as pointless because the genetic disease would make it likely that she would die during childhood.
“This caused numerous disputes between the parents, who are both doctors, and the medical team supporting Zainab about the appropriate intensity of treatment, culminating in the incident captured on video in August 2019. Zainab died four weeks later.”
Chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Williams, said: “Any parent or indeed anyone who has ever lost a loved one will be deeply moved and appalled by this story.
“You could not find more caring and loving parents who simply wanted their daughter to have a chance to continue to live.
“The family showed an extraordinary amount of restraint in the face of their brutal treatment by the police and the hospital. They genuinely feared that their only daughter and youngest child was about to die.
“Can you imagine how in such a moment it would feel to be treated as they were?
“The whole system needs a major overhaul. These tragic cases occur in a shroud of secrecy. Nothing breaks through because of the way in which the law operates to prevent close and open inspection and accountability. Parents are expected to navigate a complicated system weighted against them. It is almost impossible. This has to change.”
The hospital, which cannot be identified, has commented on the case: “When there is a risk to the safety of any of the patients in our care, to relatives, visitors or to our staff – or interference with the delivery of care and treatment – it is necessary for us to seek help from the police. This is never taken lightly.
“It is essential we maintain a safe and secure environment, particularly where we are caring for very sick and vulnerable patients.”
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “While we recognised this was a very distressing time for him and his family, our duty was to ensure the safety of all those present.
“The 58-year-old was arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace. He was subsequently also arrested on suspicion of assaulting police officers.
“Due to the nature of the incident, it was necessary to detain the man and when he complained of feeling unwell he was taken for treatment as soon as was possible.
“One officer also attended Accident and Emergency for treatment.
“We can confirm police have not pursued any further action against the individual.
“In the limited time we have been given to look into this, we have reviewed the body-worn footage from the incident which sets out a very different picture to the limited version of events which have been presented to us.
“We can confirm that we have not received a complaint in relation to this incident. We are, however, in the process of reviewing a civil claim, so it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”