A FATHER who was arrested after refusing to leave the bedside of his critically ill daughter when doctors told him they would withdraw her treatment is suing a police force following the incident.

The long-serving NHS respiratory consultant, Dr Rashid Abbasi, 58, is also considering legal action against the NHS trust, which is not being named for legal reasons.

Dr Abbasi’s six-year-old daughter, Zainab, was suffering from a rare life-limiting neurodegenerative condition called Niemann-Pick Disease.

There were numerous disputes between her parents, who are both doctors, and the medical team supporting Zainab about the appropriate intensity of treatment, culminating in the incident in which Dr Abbasi was arrested in August 2019.

Some reporting restrictions regarding the case were changed on Friday.

Dr Abbasi’s arrest took place after doctors said they were planning to withdraw treatment from Zainab.

She died four weeks later.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Dr Abbasi and his family have begun legal proceedings against the police, alleging wrongful arrest, and are considering legal action against the NHS.

Dr Abbasi said: “We have lost our daughter Zainab, but we want to take action for future Zainabs so that no one else has to go through what she did and what we have.”

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We would like to offer our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family at this extremely distressing time.

“Our first priority is always to act in the best interests of our patients. Our clinical teams work hard with young patients and their families to provide optimal care for their individual needs and to reach agreement on the best treatment.

“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. This involves the wider clinical team, consideration with our medical ethics team, and also obtaining second and third opinions from independent expert clinicians from other trusts.

"When these routes have been exhausted, a High Court process exists to provide an independent judgment by a Specialist Judge who will hear evidence from everyone involved including experts and the system requires, and arranges, separate representation for the child.

“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.

“We must stress that this action is never taken lightly. It is essential that we maintain a safe and secure environment for our patients and families, particularly on intensive care units where we are caring for very sick and vulnerable patients.

"Our staff always go to strenuous lengths to ensure that families’ wishes are respected, and that they are supported as they approach the end of their child’s life and make all possible efforts to ensure this is peaceful and dignified.

"We understand that this has been an incredibly difficult time for the whole family.”

A police spokesperson said: “We can confirm that on August 19, 2019, we responded to a call from a hospital of a man being violent and abusive towards staff and that he had assaulted a consultant.

“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.

“The 58-year-old was arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace. He was subsequently also arrested on suspicion of assaulting police officers. Due to the nature of the incident, it was necessary to detain the man and when he complained of feeling unwell he was taken for treatment as soon as was possible.

“One officer also attended accident and emergency for treatment."