03 Aug Couple to take legal action after father was removed from dying daughter’s bedside | UK News
A couple are taking legal action after being dragged away from the hospital bed of their dying daughter by police.
Bodycam footage shows Rashid Abbasi being forced away by Northumbria Police officers from his critically ill six-year-old daughter Zainab, who was being kept alive by a ventilator.
The doctors at a hospital in the north of England said half an hour before police were called they wanted to take the girl off the ventilator so she could be allowed to die.
But in an interview with Sky News the parents, Rashid and Aliya Abbasi, both doctors, said officers were “being barbaric” in what they describe was like “living a nightmare”.
The footage which has been shared with Sky News is from an incident in August 2019, when staff at the hospital called police to attend because they say Dr Abbasi was being “violent and abusive towards staff and that he had assaulted a consultant”.
Dr Abbasi denies that he was ever violent or abusive and said the police de-arrested him after he had a heart attack.
Zainab Abbasi was born with a rare-genetic illness which the family didn’t know about until she was three years old.
In July last year the six-year-old’s health rapidly deteriorated and she was admitted to hospital, struggling to breathe and was placed on a life support machine.
When the staff looking after Zainab wanted to take her off the ventilator that was breathing for her, Mr and Mrs Abbasi believed it wasn’t the right thing to do which led to a bitter feud and police officers being called in.
Dr Abbasi said: “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.”
His wife Aliya Abbasi, told Sky News: “The day before we were told they were going to ween her off and maximise her treatment.
“That’s all we were asking for, we said maximise her treatment, give her everything you can, give her what she needs which has worked in the past many times.
“They did none of that, so it was breakdown of trust. When police came we were being shouted at, we’re human beings, we’re parents and we’re being told our daughter’s about to die, but we were shouted at, we were being treated like scum.”
When asked whether Dr Abbasi was ever “violent or abusive towards staff” at the hospital he said: “If that was right why didn’t they come and arrest me and charge me? They let me go.
“I knew that if I left the bed space, I would not be allowed to come back and they would do what they wanted to do.”
After being detained by police Dr Abbasi suffered from a heart attack and was taken to A&E whilst still in custody.
His wife said: “To be honest, we cannot explain what a nightmare this became. When my husband was being detained I was telling them he has a heart problem, he’s had a problem for over 20 years.
I actually thought he was going to die, at one point I said to the nurses am I going to be organising two funerals?”
Following the incident, the NHS trust applied to the High Court for permission to take Zainab off the ventilator, but in mid September, just 3 days before the hearing was due to start, she died.
Dr Abbasi says he wants justice for Zainab and wants to make sure this never happens to anyone again.
“We are living a real hell today, and we want the whole world to see what happened at the bedside of a dying six-year-old child. I want the world to see so that it is not allowed to happen anymore.
“No amount of money or gold would incentivise me to relive this. I want to make sure no other parents are treated the same way we were.”
In a statement 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.
“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.”
The Hospital which was looking after Zainab right until she died offered their heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family, but told us their first priority is to always act in the best interest of its patients.
In a statement, it said: “On very rare occasions, when there is a risk to the safety of any of the patients in our care, to relatives, visitors, or our staff – or obstruction or interference with the delivery of care and treatment – it is necessary for us to seek help from the police.”