Repost from 9 July 2008:
Dying from 'excited delirium' [LINK]
When you scratch the surface of 'excited delirium', it is quickly admitted by the experts that it is nothing more than a name given to a collection of symptoms (that is pre-death behavioral symptoms, since nothing shows up at autopsy).
They might as well have called it 'Barney'.
Therefore, it appears to be bordering on indefensible to assign an empty name like 'excited delirium', or 'Barney', as a cause of death without a clear description of what this means.
It would be better if the autopsy report contained something like the following wording:
Cause of death: Unknown.
Additional Notes: Police reports indicate the subject displayed behavior consistent with an unknown and unexplained condition that has been named 'excited delirium', but the relationship between this condition and the exact mechanism of death is unknown. Oh, and by the way, the subject was tasered six times too.
So, based on the present state of medical knowledge, when you see 'excited delirium' assigned as a cause of death, just remember 'Barney'. It's obviously all Barney's fault.
It has been noted that a child can get to the limits of human knowledge with no more than about five innocent 'Why?' questions.
"Daddy, why is the sky blue?"
"Because the blue light is scattered by particles and molecules in the atmosphere."
"Daddy, why 'blue'?"
"Because the blue light is scattered more than the red light."
"Daddy, why is blue scattered more than red?"
"Because the red light has a longer wavelength than blue."
"Daddy, why do shorter wavelengths of light scatter more than longer?"
"Because, light scatters in accordance with the rules of quantum mechanics."
"Daddy, why 'quantum mechanics'?"
"Ah, go ask your mother."
With 'excited delirium', it needs only a couple of questions to reach the limit of human knowledge:
"Doctor, what caused, or contributed to, this person's death?"
"He died because of 'excited delirium'."
"Doctor, what is 'excited delirium' and how exactly does it lead to death?"
"Ah, to be honest we're not too sure about that. But Taser International sent me a nice brochure on the subject."
See also the difference between naming and knowing: [LINK].
By keeping in mind this CRITICAL difference between actually knowing what is going on, as compared to simply slapping a name on it, one can be mentally prepared to cut past the crap arguments and reveal that some folks are actually not as "expert" as they may seem. (Watch their eyes too. The eyes ALWAYS goes sideways and slightly up when they start "explaining" about things that they're actually just making up on the fly.)
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