The careless use of Tasers

People are being killed by police, accidentally but unnecessarily.

By Jack E. Lohman

Off-topic but I think it should be known.

Tasers are sometimes needed in legitimate law enforcement, but they nonetheless are dangerous. Police departments should be equipped to deal with the unwanted consequences, or get sued when they aren’t. Nearly 200 people have died by Taser in the last five years, and likely none of them had to.

In medical research (usually animal but sometimes human) hearts are purposely shocked into ventricular tachycardia (VT), a life-threatening and usually life-ending cardiac arrhythmia. This is done by intentionally shocking the heart on its critical T-wave in the cardiac cycle. This “widow” is a critical milliseconds, but it usually causes death.

This serves in medical training to demonstrate the process of restoring the heart to its normal rhythm. It’s called “defibrillation” and is usually successful, thus saving a patient’s life.

But that process is also debilitating when used on an uncontrollable criminal suspect, or a 72-year-old grandmother, and it can lead to death if the shock occurs on the critical portion of the cardiac cycle.

The solution is to equip every law enforcement vehicle with an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED). They cost less than $1500 on Amazon, and I own one myself. I lost a good friend to a heart attack during golf, so I always carry one on the course just in case. And I carry it in my car and have it available at family get-togethers. It’s priceless.

This is not too much to expect of police departments that use Tasers.

I’m not generally one for lawsuits, but this link tells me they are indeed needed.

American College of Cardiology References:

Cardiac Electrophysiological Consequences of Neuromuscular Incapacitating Device Discharges

Effects of Cocaine Intoxication on the Threshold for Stun Gun Induction of Ventricular Fibrillation

Tidbits

— Having spent 40 years in cardiac devices and monitoring, I’m not convinced that these deaths are coincidental. Would the person have died without the Taser procedure? I doubt it.

— There is a safe, proven correction: an AED (automated external defibrillator). If you carry a Taser, also carry an AED! You will ultimately use it.

— And damn, as hard as I’ve looked I’ve not been able to find a money link to politicians. I’m encouraged. They haven’t found a way to milk this issue.

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