Video of a father being dragged away in handcuffs from his dying daughter's bedside by U.K. police officers has surfaced as part of case against the National Health Service.
Rashid Abbasi was forcibly removed from his daughter's bedside during a violent scuffle with four police officers. His 6-year-old daughter, Zainab, suffered from a rare genetic illness and was critically ill at the time. Doctors had just informed Abbasi — himself a NHS consultant — and his wife Aliya that the state had decided to remove Zainab from life support, allowing her to die.
The video was filmed on August 19, 2019, by a Northumbria Police bodycam. It shows four officers approach the couple as they sat holding their daughter's hand in the hospital. After Abbasi repeatedly declined to step away with them to talk, the officers decided to remove him by force.
The officers first dragged away his wife, before pulling a screaming Abbasi into the hallway. Abbasi repeatedly slumps on the floor and can be heard telling the officers he had chest pain and asking for the medication in his pocket. Officers tied his ankles and legs together before lifting him onto a trolley bed so he could be wheeled out of the ward.
"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," Abbasi said.
He and his wife are suing the Northumbria Police and are considering suing the NHS Trust involved.
"For challenging this and trying to protect my daughter's life, I was treated like a criminal and an animal," Abbasi said. "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."
A spokesperson for the hospital said it had acted in the best interests of Zainab throughout the encounter.
"When disagreements about clinical care happen, we do everything we can to listen, understand and provide support during what are very difficult and sensitive circumstances," the spokesperson 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 to our staff – or obstruction or interference with the delivery of care and treatment – it is necessary for us to seek help from our security staff or the police."