Disturbing police bodycam footage shows officers dragging a father away from his sick daughter’s hospital bedside.
The father – a long serving NHS respiratory consultant – was arrested after refusing to leave when told his daughter’s life support should be switched off.
Dr Rashid Abbasi, 58, had a heart attack outside his daughter’s hospital room as four police officers arrested him on 19 August 2019. He is now taking legal action, backed by the Christian Legal Centre.
Doctors at the hospital, which cannot be named for legal reasons, called for the police to remove or arrest Dr Abbasi after they had announced they would withdraw treatment and ultimately enforce end of life ‘treatment’ on his six-year-old daughter, Zainab, through extubating her.
The girl’s parents are both doctors, and they disagreed with the hospital’s decision. The father said the fact they had disagreed with the trust meant they were labelled as ‘argumentative’.
The hospital called the police, and officers arrived while Dr Abbasi was holding his daughter’s hand at her bedside.
He said he asked if they had any legal reason to remove him, such as a court order or arrest warrant; otherwise he would not go. He feared he would not be allowed to return and her ventilation tube would be removed.
He said, ‘One officer came from the right and that was the hand I was holding Zainab’s finger, and just grabbed me.’ Another pulled him to the floor, he said, and he was then physically restrained, his legs strapped together, and wheeled out of the area.
He was not charged and no action has been taken against him. Zainab died about four weeks later.
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre said, ‘Why is it that time and time again when parents resist end of life treatment being imposed on their children, the police swiftly appear?
‘We are living in a culture of death, and when our society and frontline services unilaterally decide that death is in a child’s best interest, and the parents are left powerless in the face of the “system”, it has to be exposed.’
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’.
But, the force added, they had reviewed the footage and said it ‘sets out a very different picture to the limited version of events which have been presented to us’.
The footage is available to view on the Christian Concern YouTube channel.