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Friday, May 30, 2008

Treating "excited delirium" in Nashville

May 30, 2008
The Tennessean

Excited delirium often leads to difficult arrests because people are agitated, difficult to control and often violent. Metro police officials say it's a medical emergency that often appears to be a police emergency.

After Patrick Lee's death, the Nashville Fire Department developed a protocol to identify people in the heightened state and administer a shot of Versed, medicine similar to Valium, to calm agitation.

Fire department officials said they've used Versed five times since the policy was put in place in February 2006. Nashville Fire spokeswoman Kim Lawson said she is not aware of any situation in which a Taser was also used to subdue the patient.

Metro police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford said the department doesn't track Versed use and can't say whether police were involved in the incidents or any patients were arrested.

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