CMAJ eLetter from Hugh H. Macartney, dated 25 March 2008. [LINK]
Those who manufacture and use Tasers claim no death has occurred solely due to their use and where no other cause such as drug and alcohol is involved fatal outcome is due solely to "excited delirium".
In 1953 as a Research Fellow at the University of B.C. I built a defibrillator for clinical and experimental use with open chest. In anaesthetised dogs it was shown that a minute current applied directly to either atria or ventricles induced fibrillation which could be reversed with application of a larger current.
When an infusion of epinephrine was given a much smaller shock would initiate fibrillation which required a very much larger current to reverse and frequently spontaneous refibrillation occurred. Under extreme stress endogenous levels of epinephrine are high and it is possible that a Taser shock could induce fatal ventricular fibrillation.
At autopsy there would be no specific findings [the Taser 'Proof Issue'] so that some other, possibly incorrect, cause would be suggested. Further research is necessary and I doubt we have seen the last death resulting from Taser torture.
[updated - post split]
Further update - the smallness of the taser shock depends upon what sort of measurement technique is used. The X26 taser is only 2mA if the average is used. But it is about 150mA when RMS measurement techniques are used. Where the EFFECTIVE current lies along this axis is an open question, but it's wishful thinking to place the EFFECTIVE current at the lowest end of the possible 2 to 150 mA range. I've got some potentially killer information on this issue - see [LINK].
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