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Grieving dad arrested at daughter’s bedside moments after being told she wouldn’t survive

Footage has emerged of the moment father, Rashid Abbasi, was dragged away from his daughter, six, and arrested, after being told she would be taken off life support in a north England hospital.
Rashid Abbasi was dragged away from his daughter and later suffered a heart attack (Picture: Mail On Sunday)

A distraught father was arrested and dragged from his daughter’s bedside, as he tried to convince doctors not to turn off her life support machine. 

Footage has emerged of the moment Rashid Abbasi, 59, was held by the neck and strapped to a trolley by police officers, shortly after being told doctors were going to stop treating his six-year-old daughter, Zainab, MailOnline reports

The film, obtained from a police bodycam, shows Rashid – a respiratory expert who has worked for the NHS for more than 30 years – and his grieving wife Aliya pleading with officers to leave them alone as they tried to deal with the news. 

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Officers can be heard saying they want to speak to the father away from the ward and, after five minutes of trying to reason with him, give a final warning before wrenching the couple from their daughter’s bed.

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Aliya, a former doctor, is seen being grabbed from behind and falls onto the floor screaming, before her husband is heard telling officers he’s suffering from chest pains while he is held down. He said he was later told he had suffered a heart attack. 

It came as the couple fought for further treatment for their daughter who suffered from respiratory problems and a rare genetic illness called Niemann-Pick disease.

Doctors at a hospital in the North of England, which can’t be named for legal reasons, insisted there was no more they could do and that she should be allowed to die. 

Speaking to the press for the first time, Rashid 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.’

A father was arrested by police at his daughter's bedside
The Abbasis had been involved in a long dispute over the care of their daughter (Picture: Mail On Sunday)
Rashid Abbasi was pulled away from his daughter's bedside in a north England hospital.
Rashid was told he later suffered a heart attack (Picture: Mail on Sunday)
A father was dragged away and arrested by police at his daughter's bedside
He was strapped to a trolley but later de-arrested (Picture: Mail On Sunday)

The couple have only just been allowed to tell their story after reporting restrictions were lifted on Friday. 

Police were called on August 19, last year, after receiving a complaint from the hospital about Rashid’s behaviour. Earlier he had stormed out of a meeting when they were told that doctors planned to take Zainab off a ventilator and move her to palliative care. 

Rashid and Aliya pleaded for further tests and they claim that on two previous occasions they had successfully argued for Zainab to be treated with steroids instead of having life support withdrawn, and that her condition improved. 

The father believed that while his daughter was dangerously ill she could survive with the right care.

Doctors disagreed and told the couple: ’We are not going to be doing any more going round in circles.’

The hospital said Rashid pushed a senior doctor who attempted to prevent him returning to his daughter’s bedside. Half an hour later, four police officers and two security guards arrived.

Following the incident shown in the footage, Rashid was taken to accident and emergency, where officers later de-arrested him. He said he was told he had suffered a heart attack and the next day he underwent an emergency angioplasty.

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Following these events, the NHS trust applied to the High Court for permission to take Zainab off the ventilator, but on September 16, just three days before the hearing was due to start, Zainab died.

The hospital said: ‘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.’

The police force involved, which cannot be named for legal reasons, said its officers responded to a call ‘of a man being violent and abusive towards staff and that he had assaulted a consultant’.

They added: ‘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.’

They confirmed Mr Abbasi was arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace and assaulting police officers, and that one officer was treated in A&E.

The force added: ‘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 possible.’

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