A Nova Scotia judge probing the death in custody of a paranoid schizophrenic man has waded into the debate over excited delirium, rejecting it as the cause, and questioning if the controversial condition even exists.Yes, exactly as we've been pointing out since late-2007.
Howard Hyde died the day after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife while off his medication. The Dartmouth man was tasered repeatedly and wrestled into submission by police in a fracas during booking. He struggled later with guards at a local jail before collapsing and dying.
The province’s chief medical examiner had concluded that Mr. Hyde’s death was due to excited delirium.
Provincial Court Judge Anne Derrick – who presided over an 11-month inquiry and tabled a massive report on Wednesday with 80 recommendations aimed at improving treatment of the mentally ill – concluded that Mr. Hyde’s death was the accidental result of being restrained. "This case should sound a loud alarm that resorting to ‘excited delirium’ as an explanation for a person’s behaviour and/or their death may be entirely misguided," she wrote. ... [LINK]
Judge Derrick rejected the finding of Matthew Bowes, the province’s chief medical examiner, who said that Mr. Hyde died from "excited delirium due to paranoid schizophrenia."
"Excited delirium, if it exists at all, is irrelevant to this case, a red herring," she wrote. "Furthermore, I believe it is inappropriate to say that Mr. Hyde’s death was ‘due to schizophrenia’ ... he did not die because he was mentally ill." [ibid]