Hospital consultant to sue police after he is arrested at dying daughter’s bedside

A hospital consultant is to sue the police after claiming he was physically dragged from his daughter’s bedside and arrested after doctors said they were to switch off her life support.

Rashid Abbasi, 59, and his wife Aliya, also a former doctor, have accused officers of branding him “an animal” as he struggled to remain with his dying daughter, Zainab.

The incident, which was caught on a police officer’s body-worn camera, appears to show Mr Abbasi being physically wrenched away from his daughter’s bedside as his wife pleads for compassion.

Police were called by hospital staff after Mr Abbasi became increasingly distressed when doctors told him there was nothing more they could do for the sick little girl and it was time to withdraw life support.

Zainab was suffering from a rare genetic condition called Niemann-Pick disease, which meant she was unlikely to survive into adulthood.

Doctors treating her at a hospital in the north of England, had concluded there was nothing more could be done, but Mr and Mrs Abbasi were adamant further treatment was available.

Last August, staff at the hospital claimed they became concerned for their safety after they informed the family of their decision to end treatment.

They said they were forced to call the police when Mr Abbasi became abusive and pushed a senior doctor who tried to prevent him returning to his daughter’s bedside.

Footage of the incident that followed shows an officer remonstrating with Mr Abbasi before arresting him and dragging him by the neck away from his daughter.

At one point the officers accused Mr Abbasi of kicking and biting and the female constable is heard referring to him as “an animal”.

He was arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace and assaulting police officers.

It later emerged that he had suffered a minor heart attack during the incident and has accused officers of refusing to help him retrieve his medication from his pocket.

Following the incident the hospital applied to the High Court to have Zainab taken off the ventilator, but she died three days before the hearing could take place.

Mr Abbasi has begun legal action to sue the police for wrongful arrest and his case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

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

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