Sunday's shocking footage of The Mail shows police officers violently pulling a grieving father from his dying daughter's sickbed shortly after he was told that her life support was being withdrawn.
The harrowing film of a police camera shows the moment when Rashid Abbasi, a 59-year-old hospital advisor, was torn away by his seriously ill six-year-old daughter by an official who held his neck.
Mr. Abbasi, who has been working at the NHS for more than 30 years, had his legs and ankles strapped together and was rolled away by his daughter Zainab on a cart. His wife Aliya, a former doctor, was grabbed from behind, pulled from the bed and fell backwards onto the floor of the infirmary, screaming.
The disturbing incident occurred in a hospital in the north of England, which the MoS cannot name for legal reasons. It came after the parents were involved in a lengthy argument with doctors about caring for their seriously ill daughter. The doctors insisted that Zainab be allowed to die, but Mr. and Mrs. Abbasi fought for further treatment, which they believed would keep her alive.
In a night watch with his wife Aliya and another relative, Rashid gently caresses his dying daughter's arm as the police enter the station
Aliya turns to the largest of the officials to ask for empathy for her grief and asks, "Do you have children?" He says yes
The police were called to Zainab's bed after complaining about Mr. Abbasi's behavior.
The MoS can also show how:
- The disturbing images show that a police officer cried when Abbasi was arrested: "You are acting like an animal, it is disgusting."
- The officials repeatedly refused to take emergency medication out of his pocket, even though he cried that he had chest pain.
- He said he was later told that he had had a heart attack and had heart surgery the next day;
- Mr. and Mrs. Abbasi have been involved in a three-week lawsuit against hospital heads to lift the draconian reporting restrictions that prevented them from telling their story.
- Mr. Abbasi has initiated proceedings to sue the police for unlawful arrest.
- In their first newspaper interview last night, the couple condemned the "brutal" and "unfeeling" way the police treated them.
The episode highlights how the NHS deals with sensitive cases when parents disagree with doctors' decisions to deprive their child of life support. It follows the traumatic cases of Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard, terminally ill children, whose parents have had long legal disputes about their care.
Rashid and Aliya Abbasi's daughter Zainab suffered from breathing problems and a rare genetic disease called Niemann-Pick disease, which meant that she would likely die in childhood.
The couple bumped into Zainab's doctors for years of treatment. They say that on two previous occasions when Zainab was seriously ill, they had successfully advocated that she should be treated with steroids instead of being deprived of life support, and that they had proven to be correct than her condition improved.
The stalemate escalates in a dramatic and troubling moment when two of the officers grab Aliya from behind and pull her away from the bed
Meanwhile, the other two officers push a visibly troubled Rashid away from the bed while he is still sitting in his chair
The officers fight physically with the excited father and wrestle with his beating arms to restrain him
After her hospitalization last July, Mr. and Mrs. Abbasi believed that although she was dangerously ill, her daughter could survive with the proper care.
On August 19, Abbasis doctors informed Zainab that he was dying. An audio recording shows a doctor telling them that "the next steps would be to take them off the ventilator." Rashid and Aliya pleaded for further testing, but one of the doctors declined, saying the process of switching from zainab to palliative care should begin "immediately." Rashid told them that they would need a court order to do so.
The doctor was again asked to perform further tests and replied, "We will not run around in circles anymore," adding, "You will never come to terms with it."
The doctors then tried to give the couple a letter restricting Mr. Abbasi's visiting hours, claiming that the staff felt "threatened and intimidated" by him.
Mr. Abbasi, an airway expert who works in another hospital, stormed out of the meeting, but the hospital staff then called the police and claimed that he had bumped into a senior doctor who was trying to prevent him from returning to his daughter's bed . Half an hour later, four police officers and two security guards gathered at Zainab's bed, where the destroyed Abbasis and one of her sons comforted her quietly.
Aliya, who is held back by the policewoman and another man, is helplessly witnessing her husband's plight
During the fight, Rashid shouts that he has chest pain, but is told, "You brought it yourself."
His energy is exhausted, Rashid is finally subjected. When he lies on the hospital floor, moaning, he is handcuffed
The Bodycam material shows how officials repeatedly asked Mr. Abbasi to leave his daughter's bed and speak to them outside the station, but he refused.
Ms. Abbasi suggested that the officers speak to her husband by the bed. She asked her to show "sympathy" and said: "We were only informed that they would take the tube out of our daughter."
But after just over five minutes, an officer gave Mr. Abbasi one last warning before tearing him away from his daughter. An officer held his neck as he was pulled away from the bed in his chair, as the footage shows.
After being forced to the ground, Mr. Abbasi, who suffers from serious heart problems, complained of "chest pain" only to learn: "You brought it yourself."
The officers claim that Mr. Abbasi kicked and bit her during the fight. Mr. Abbasi disputes the claims.
Mr. Abbasi told the MoS: “The pictures speak for themselves. They behaved like barbarians. They weren't ready to listen. My daughter was sentenced to death half an hour before her arrival. "
Mr. Abbasi was taken to an accident and emergency, where officials later detained him. He said he had a heart attack and had emergency angioplasty the next day.
After the incident, the NHS trust applied to the High Court for permission to remove Zainab from the ventilator. Zainab died on September 16, just three days before the hearing began.
On Friday, Ms. and Ms. Abbasi won a lawsuit to partially lift the reporting restrictions.
Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Center, who helps the couple, said: “The family was extremely reluctant to deal with the brutal treatment. They were really worried that their only daughter was going to die. "
The officials bundle him on a cart and tie his legs around his ankles and thighs as he continues to scream about chest pain and ask for his medication
"You act like an animal," said police officer Rashid, adding, "Your behavior in front of your child is disgusting."
The hospital said, "If there is a risk to the safety of a patient in our care, to relatives, visitors, or to our staff – or to disruptions in the provision of care and treatment – we need to ask the police for help. This is never taken lightly. It is important that we create a safe environment, especially when we look after very sick and vulnerable patients. "
The police concerned, which the Department of Defense is unable to name for legal reasons, said their officials responded to the call, "a man was violent and abusive toward employees and attacked an adviser."
They added, "Although we realized that this was a very stressful time for him and his family, it was our duty to ensure the safety of everyone present." They confirmed that Mr. Abbasi was suspected of violating the peace and the Attack on police officers was arrested. and that one officer was treated in A&E. The police added, "Because of the nature of the incident, it was necessary to arrest the man, and when he complained about being unwell, he was brought to treatment as soon as possible."
The troop said they had reviewed the footage and it was "a very different picture from the limited version of the events that were presented to us."
How the police "brutally" broke into the grim vigil of a grieving family just 30 minutes after parents were told that their 6-year-old daughter had been removed from their life support machine
Between white hospital sheets lies a little girl in a pink nightgown, behind which a dark bundle of shiny black hair spreads on a plump pillow. Her father is by her side and tenderly strokes her right arm while her mother watches. Just 30 minutes earlier, parents Rashid and Aliya Abbasi had been told that six-year-old Zainab had to die.
But within a few moments, her tragic night watch turns into a violent clash with the police, who is eventually filmed with her hands around Rashid's neck. He is pulled away from his dying daughter in handcuffs and with legs and ankles strapped together when a policewoman growls in his face: "You act like an animal, it's disgusting."
Video footage from a police body camera shows that the scene where officers arrived at the infirmary is dark and calm. Rashid and Aliya seem to be quietly resigned to the devastating news that doctors believe that their beloved daughter, who has been seriously ill in the hospital for three weeks, is dying and should be removed from their ventilator.
Rashid is sitting in a blue hospital chair next to the machine bench, keeping Zainab alive. A curtain is pulled back when the couple, accompanied by one of their sons, have no need to seek privacy.
Aliya, who is at the foot of the bed, appears to be too exhausted to be afraid – or even surprised – when she sees the police, three men and a woman approaching. One of the men asks Rashid, "May I have a word with you, sir? Not here if you could only get outside. "Rashid replies quietly:" No, I don't want to leave my daughter: my daughter dies. "
When the PC repeats his request, Aliya begins to explain, believing that the officials are unaware of the excruciating news that has just been delivered. "About half an hour ago, we were just told that they would take the tube out and our daughter would die, to be honest …" Her voice trailed off as she tried to articulate her distress.
Aliya invites the officials to sit on the bed with them and say, "You are welcome to pull up a chair and just sit here and talk to us." The couple show no signs of refusing to work together, but they do it doesn't want to leave your child.
Rashid is sitting in a blue hospital chair next to the machine bench, keeping Zainab alive. A curtain is pulled back when the couple, accompanied by one of their sons, have no need to seek privacy
An officer tells Rashid that his behavior is "worrying". He replies: "This is a lie."
"Was Friday also a lie about your behavior, which is why the police were called?" The official asks to make the exchange more confrontational, while repeating requests to have the conversation outside.
His colleague, tall with a shaved head, walks past Aliya to position himself behind Rashid. He seems to repeat a scripted request for collaboration: "Can I reasonably say or do anything to make you listen to what I say and do what I ask of you?"
No parent has raised their voice or got up. Aliya tries again to explain her despair: "You will take the tube out of our daughter, she will die … she is on a respirator", but her words are cut off by the officer.
A nurse in a marine uniform puts her own hand protectively on Zainab, just a few inches from where the father is still gently holding his daughter's arm.
While the police continue to insist that the parents leave their daughter's bed, Aliya asks again, "My daughter dies from a ventilator, I don't think you really understand …"
The officials again ask Rashid to get up and come with them. This time the feeling of arrest is awakened if he does not comply with your request. Then Aliya gets up and asks a hospital advisor on the ward: "Do you want that?"
The nurse, who was joined by a colleague at the time, tells Rashid that if he is arrested, he will lose immediate access to his daughter instead of going back to his hospital accommodation: "You won't be close to her," she said.
Her words are intended as an act of kindness, but they seem to encourage a more energetic stance from the tall male officer, who emphasizes: “There is accidental and emergency accommodation that is much closer than the police station where he will not be able to will go, maybe you should consider that before making your decision. & # 39;
Aliya asks both of them to stay and not to waste a moment of their time together. "When someone has hours … we take care of them 24 hours a day."
Aliya asks both of them to stay and not to waste a moment of their time together. "When someone has hours … we take care of them 24 hours, 24 hours a day."
She appeals to the tall male officer to ponder and feel her grief for a moment. "Do you have children?" She asks. He says that he does, but then checks himself and adds, "Not that it's relevant here." Now the policewoman enters and tells Aliya what is best for her dying child. "What is best for your daughter is that she doesn't have that kind of confrontation. It is in the best care, the best place. "
Aliya replies: "It is not, it is not." But the policewoman, who is visibly upset about being challenged, insists: "Yes, she is, yes, she is" and breathes out of the air. As Aliya defends herself, the policewoman begins to instruct her, "You are wrong. The best part is that the environment you are bringing your daughter into is not appropriate. Your husband is creating a problem."
Aliya asks for your understanding: "Were you told half an hour ago that [a doctor] told us that you were going to take out the tube?" Your voice, which is so calm up to this point, begins to get caught in emotions.
But the policewoman bluntly says, "Yes, but they're not doing it right now!" And asks the desperate mother to ask, "Do you know what compassion is?"
Her vocation doesn't get her any further than the policewoman tells her "from mother to mother that this is not correct". Aliya says, "Do you know what I have to do here?"
Now, five and a half minutes after the confrontation, the tall male officer repeated, "Is there anything I can reasonably say or do …". Script before you bend over to Rashid.
He begins to remove it physically and repeats: "Let go of your daughter." The policeman with the body cam and the policewoman grab Aliya from behind and pull her back. Pandemonium breaks out. Aliya falls to the floor and screams in shock.
Her startled scream creates a tormented roar from Rashid, who is then pulled back from the bed while he is still sitting in his chair.
Officers wrestle with his beating arms and a policeman puts his hand on his father's neck, under his chin, his fingers are clearly visible against the gray hair of the older man's beard. When Rashid is pried away from his daughter's bed, the command "On the floor!" Given clearly.
Three officers, including the one with the body cam, fight Rashid and yell at him, "Stop fighting," while the policewoman and the man, who appears to be a security guard, hold Aliya back. After a fierce fight, Rashid, panting with exertion and fear, is overwhelmed and handcuffed.
He complains of chest pain just to be said by an officer, "You brought it yourself."
"We're taking you to A&E, that's perfectly fine," says another official. "Please come with me and act responsibly. You are an adult, you are an educated person."
In the meantime, Rashid is lying on the polished light gray floor of the ward, his head clamped in the wooden frame of a closed hospital door. He is clearly in physical and mental distress, groans and grimaces.
The police try to get him to sit up, but he continues to resist repeating that he has chest pain and asking about the emergency medication he has in his pocket.
The policewoman tells him that he cannot have it until he has followed her orders. "If you get up properly … we'll get your medication."
The officials try to put Rashid, now handcuffed, on a chair, but the fight continues as he screams, and then accuses one of the male officers of kicking him. With growing anger the father shouts: "Why are you kicking me, you bastard … what are you doing?" The police officer denies the allegation.
He slides back onto the floor and tells the officials that he is too dizzy to sit up. He repeatedly calls for his medicine, alarming the officials: "I will have a heart attack!"
The officers then tie him with a double leg rest, one around his thighs and one on his ankles, and then, satisfied that he has been immobilized, lift him onto a waiting car. All the time he screams: "Let me have my medicine. I have chest pain! I'm going to have a heart attack!
"You animals. Animals. Animals, ”he says. The policewoman believes that he is trying to kick her, clearly loses control and growls: “You act like an animal. This is disgusting. & # 39;
She orders her male colleagues to get him out. Then she says to Rashid again: "Your behavior in front of your child is disgusting."
A male officer accuses Rashid of having bitten him and later appears to show the camera a wound on his hand. Rashid disputes the claim.
There are other angry talks as Rashid is pushed out of the station into a corridor through double doors and tries to grab one of the officers with his handcuffed hands. The policewoman shouts "Stop biting" and Rashid replies "I don't bite".
He accuses the police of injuring his wrists and repeatedly asks about his medicine. They assure him that they are urgently taking him to A&E, but one of the officials seems to tell him, "If you act like an animal, you will be treated like one."
When it is rolled into a corridor, the body cam material is cut out.
"Our little girl died, all we wanted was compassion": broken-hearted parents remember the "brutal" moment when they heard of their "beautiful little girl" whom they had struggled to stay alive, were torn
Zainab Abbasi's bedroom has remained untouched since the heartbreaking day ten months ago when the terribly sick six-year-old girl died in the hospital. A Disney poster decorates the door, two birthday cards, both with princesses, are still on display, and Tigger, her favorite toy, sits on a shelf opposite her empty bed.
"She was the light of our house," her grieving mother Aliya told The Mail on Sunday. When she died, it was as if the soul had been taken out of our house. We were all here, but the house was empty. "
What made Zainab's death so excruciatingly painful for Aliya and her husband Rashid, both of whom are doctors, in September is that their final weeks have been overshadowed by a bitter argument with medical personnel about deprivation of life support – so bitter that he culminated in the violent arrest of Rashid and his forced removal from the bed of his dying daughter.
Pictured: Zainab Abassi, who suffered from a life-limiting genetic disease. Her two parents, Aliya and Rashid, are doctors
For much of her short life, Zainab could only communicate with her father by gently pressing his hand. In fact, she was holding one of Rashid's fingers when a policeman called "Let go of your daughter" before pulling him away from her
For much of her short life, Zainab could only communicate with her father by gently pressing his hand. In fact, she was holding one of Rashid's fingers when a policeman called "Let go of your daughter" before pulling him away from her.
With tears on his face, 59-year-old Rashid, a respiratory consultant in a hospital other than the one where Zainab died, said he was still "flashing back" from the harrowing incident.
"When I was pulled from her bed, she was holding my finger," he said. "An officer squeezed my wrist at the same time they pulled me. I could feel pens and needles.
"I fell on them and then they pulled me down and they knelt on my lower abdomen. It was brutal. "
Aliya, 53, added: “It was so incredible. I felt like I was talking, but nobody could hear me. I kept saying, "You don't understand, we were told half an hour ago that they would take our daughter's tube out. She's dying." ’
Zainab was born in June 2013 and was the fourth child of Rashid and Aliya – but their first girl. Rashid and Aliya noted that their daughter was missing some key development milestones, but believed that she was otherwise successful.
"She was very cheeky, very smart, a pretty little girl," said Aliya. "She was a bundle of joy, she really was. From the beginning she was a little fighter. It was a lively little thing. "
In January 2016, however, Zainab contracted swine flu and, after weeks of ventilator, had respiratory problems that she suffered for the rest of her life. Swine flu is circulating in the UK every winter after the 2009 global pandemic.
Weeks later, Zainab was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick disease, a rare and incurable genetic disease. After this devastating development, which meant that she was likely to die before adulthood, Rashid and Aliya increasingly came into contact with Zainab's doctors for their care, particularly the way in which their breathing problems were treated.
Although she lost the ability to speak, Zainab's parents said she could still communicate with non-verbal sounds and was in a good mood despite a serious illness.
Even if she's working on a ventilator, she'd love to see her favorite film, Paddington.
"And she could react to music, she would watch her DVDs," said Aliya. "She loved having her hair washed, brushed, and braided."
The disagreements between Zainab's parents and her doctors worsened when she became dangerously ill last July and was hospitalized for the last time. On August 16, Rashid was banned from the hospital from visiting his daughter between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m., alleging that a junior doctor felt "threatened and intimidated" during a dispute over Zainab's care.
Doctors Aliya and Rashid Abassi, who had argued with hospital staff and police officers, were sparked by a dispute over the care of their daughter Zainab. Zainab had a life-threatening illness and died in May 2019
The medical personnel later called the police when Rashid visited him, but the officials were calm about the situation and he was allowed to stay.
Three days later, Rashid and Aliya met three senior doctors in a room near Zainab's station who said they wanted to take them off their ventilator that oxygenated their lungs and let them die "in the most caring way". . Rashid and Aliya disagreed and a heated argument escalated when the doctors tried to give Rashid a letter outlining how his visiting hours would be restricted.
The medical staff claimed that Rashid pushed one of the doctors when he stormed out of the meeting. He denies this. "My shoulder may have brushed him, but then he's the one who ran after me. He tried to stop me first, ”he said.
The couple said they panicked over fears that medical staff would remove Zainab from the ventilator during the meeting. "It was like being hit by a sledgehammer," said Aliya.
About half an hour later, four policemen and two security guards gathered at Zainab's bed, where Rashid, Aliya and one of their sons were sitting quietly.
They repeatedly asked Rashid to move to another area where they could speak to him, but he didn't move. Aliya explained why her husband had to be there – and asked, "Do you know what compassion is?" But five and a half minutes later, chaos broke out when officials tried to forcefully remove Rashid.
"I thought they were parallel and also remove Zainab's tube," he said. "To this day, I wake up every night thinking someone's handcuffed and Zainab's hose is pulled out."
When police forced him to the ground to handcuff him, Rashid, who had previously had two heart attacks, felt a bruising pain in his chest. "I thought if I died what would happen to my daughter? I would never see them again and they would almost certainly carry out their threat to remove the tube. I can't put it into words. I think the heart attack was just a physical manifestation of this distress. "
Aliya bursts into tears when she remembers how she later asked one of her sons to visit Rashid in an accident and emergency because she feared he would die.
“I wanted the children to say goodbye to their father. I thought you might not see him again. "
Rashid and Aliya received police camera pictures of the incident last December after making a request for the data protection law – but it took weeks to build up the courage to look at it.
When she finally watched the video, Aliya was impressed by the couple's "sheer helplessness" and the police 's refusal to listen to their requests for understanding.
Zainab was born in June 2013 and was the fourth child of Rashid and Aliya – but their first girl. Rashid and Aliya noted that their daughter was missing some key development milestones, but believed that she was otherwise successful
"I felt like this miserable middle-aged woman asking people to listen to her," she said.
"I have grief counseling and I tell my counselor that I now feel like this: I feel that I speak and people cannot hear me."
Rashid added: “You are speaking with a wall. The louder you say things, the louder it jumps back into your face. "
After the shocking incident, the hospital trust that treated Zainab – who hadn't pulled out her tube during the police incident – applied to the High Court for permission to withdraw life support and move her to a palliative care system. A two-day hearing was scheduled for September 19 and 20, but her condition worsened, and on September 15, Mr. and Mrs. Abbasi made one last attempt to save their lives. During two emergency phone hearings with a judge, Rashid and Aliya pleaded for their daughter to be given high doses of steroids.
Her application was denied and the next morning at 10:08 a.m. Zainab died at her bed with her parents and brothers.
As a clear sign that the relationship between the parents and the hospital had collapsed completely after the arrest, two security guards were posted in front of the station entrance.
Aliya and Rashid passionately believe that their daughter was not terminally ill and more could be done to save her. "If this episode hadn't happened last year, we could have looked after it for many, many years," said Aliya.
Rashid's arrest was the last of many doctors' hot spots in the last years of Zainab's life. He was arrested in another hospital in February 2019 after alleging that he refused to leave his daughter's ward and was "excited". He was later released for health reasons.
The couple was also examined by social services and the police after alleging that they prevented medical access to Zainab.
This included claims that they had changed her daughter's medication, given her an over-the-counter medication, and given her too much oxygen at home.
The medical personnel later called the police when Rashid visited him, but the officials were calm about the situation and he was allowed to stay
The couple have always vigorously contested the claims, claiming to have evidence to prove them wrong. The police closed their investigation last year for "insufficient evidence", while social services concluded that Zainab had protection problems but was not exposed to the "continuing risk of significant harm".
The couple admitted that Rashid could be "animated," but said this was due to the frustration of their dispute over Zainab's care.
They denied that he was threatening or intimidating.
Aliya warned that other parents who are less medically qualified than them face similar battles against doctors who are determined to withdraw their child's life support.
"It's a bit like putting your car in a garage and a mechanic insists on a particular course of action." You follow the advice because you don't know better.
“Since we were both doctors, we knew exactly what was going to happen and we could point out when our daughter failed. If that could happen to us, what about other people?
“On two previous occasions, in 2016 and 2018, Zainab was critically ill in the intensive care unit, and the doctors suggested it was time to take her off the ventilator and let her die. However, based on our medical knowledge, we successfully challenged them and asked them to treat them with higher doses of steroids. We were right on both occasions.
"It happens every day across the country because the parents don't know what's going on."
Meanwhile, Rashid remains tortured by the memory of his violent removal from his daughter's bed. “Zainab had human rights. She wanted her parents' closeness and company. What happened to their human rights – the rights of a dying child? "