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Friday, June 07, 2013

A comment received today from "Gilbert"

I can’t believe the number of Canadian cops and even some coroners and judges who are still accepting Excited Delirium as a ‘cause-of-death’. Neither the CMA or AMA recognize it. Then the Braidwood Inquiry looking into the death of Robert Dziekanski blew the ED idea out of the water, as a concocted concept to help police explain away ‘unintended consequences’ during and after Taser incidents. Have you ever heard of ED mentioned in anything other than Taser-related fatalities?

Mother Jones published an eye-opening piece in 2009, right around the time when Taser International quietly announced in a training bulletin that officers should avoid chest shots because of proximity to the heart. That flies in the face of the claims made by the company a decade earlier, when its executives crowed about Tasers being safe to use on any assailant. Mother Jones reported the manufacturer’s questionable methods of promoting ED to anyone who would listen—mainly police and lawyers- through a second-party organization based in Las Vegas, Nevada! The article is a bit dated now, in that Taser has lost at least one other major product liability case- that being the late 17-year old Daryl Turner, who was stunned twice in the chest by a cop in North Carolina. The Turner family won a $10-million dollar jury judgement, although it was halfed on appeal. Taser was rapped for 'failure to warn' about cardiac risks; these are risks TI executives were told about in 2006 by one of their own scientists after one of their own healthy volunteers suffered a heart attack during a controlled experiment. Luckily a defib was nearby and the volunteer survived. They company kept selling product, only issuing the chest-avoidance warning in late 2009. That case set the legal precedent that Tasers can kill. Commissioner Braidwood concluded that too. And now, if you read the fine print you'll see TI itself is admitting its products can cause cardiac and metabolic changes that can lead to death.


Soren said...

FYI, the Dziekanski's cause of death was positional asphyxia (a wellknown problem when you put someone face down and bend their arms and legs back while asserting pressure on their back). So yes, you are right that it wasn't Excited Delirium, but it didn't have anything to do with him being TASER:ed either.

Aside from that I would say that your "truth" suffers from some causality errors (Post hoc ergo propter hoc) - just because one thing happened after another does not mean that the second event was caused by the first event.

Reality Chick said...

The following is a reply received from Gilbert in response to 'Soren':

"I’m not sure where ‘Soren’ is getting his information, but according to the Braidwood Inquiry, Mr Dziekanski died of cardiac arrest, after suffering a cardiac arrhythmia. However, there is some debate as to the actual mechanism that caused that fatal arrhythmia. Braidwood suggests pre-existing heart disease and prolonged stress from his lengthy journey from Poland are factors. He rules out excited delirium entirely.

Although Braidwood says Tasers are capable of capturing the heart, throwing it into spasm (in the same manner as all other muscles in the body can be affected by electrical current), in this case he doesn’t believe ventricular fibrillation was to blame.

Still, Braidwood maintains it was an “electrical death”. The stress of Dziekanski's long trip, the frustration he felt because of the ambivalence of staff at the Vancouver Airport and a lack of food & drink contributed to Dziekanski’s 'hyperadrenergic state', which was made worse by the fear, pain and shock of the attempted arrest. Braidwood points to Acidosis as a likely culprit, brought on by the pain and fear AND by the multiple stuns from the Taser. Such invasive shocks cause fibrillation of muscles, which produces a surge of lactic acid throughout the blood stream; the longer the shock the greater the acid buildup in the blood will be; this acidotic state can cause muscles to fail, including those of the diaphram and chest, which can negatively affect respiration and ultimately, the heart.

Braidwood says nothing about asphyxia, choke-holds, knees-to-the-neck or the polyester dog-pile as being contributory, let alone causal.