May 20, 2008
By MATT KIELTYKA, 24 HOURS
Taser International’s credibility was called into question by a leading heart surgeon at the Braidwood Inquiry yesterday.
Dr. Michael Janusz, a heart surgeon and clinical professor at UBC, told the inquiry that most physicians would conclude that Tasers are capable of causing heart problems under the right circumstances.
And he questioned Taser’s reluctance to support that view.
“It creates a problem with credibility with the company and can make it difficult to deal with the company regarding safety,” Janusz said. “Tasers must be regarded as being capable of causing cardiac arrest. The consequences are not trivial.”
Both Janusz and expert cardiologist Dr. Charles Kerr, who also made presentations at the inquiry yesterday, said police need to recognize the risks of using a Taser – no matter how small – and be prepared to deal with complications immediately.
Extremely agitated people are especially susceptible to heart problems because of their increased heart rate and other metabolic changes, according to Kerr.
“There should be a realization that the potential for sudden death does exist,” he said. “Policy should recognize that.”
Kerr says officers should be fully trained in resuscitation and have defibrillators within reach when a Taser is deployed.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
May 20, 2008