Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...


The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

15 second time limit ?

Dr. Graeme Dowling: "In electrocution deaths, ...any person who receives an electrical current of sufficient strength to stop their heart will be unresponsive in 15 seconds. Some are immediately, but the maximum is about 15 seconds. So when we look at the discharge of taser, if the person becomes unresponsive when the taser is being discharged, or within 15 seconds of the discharge, an argument could be made that the taser might be the cause of death." [LINK]

Ah, no. That's just plain wrong: using the logic of (high current) electrocution and trying to apply those rules-of-thumb to a taser-associated death. Wrong.

That 15-second time limit would probably apply in most cases of normal (high current) electrocution. But whatever it is that the taser does (when things go badly) certainly wouldn't be a normal (high current) electrocution.

The (M26 or X26) taser's output current is, at most, on the hairy edge of being dangerous for some people under some circumstances. The studies are not showing that the hearts are being stopped dead. The studies are reporting ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and various heart rhythm problems. And who knows what they'll find next?

Here are some references:

"It took up to 4 hours for healthy, anesthetized swine to recover from these adverse taser effects." [LINK]

"Of 16 discharges [into the adrenalized pigs], there were 13 episodes of myocardial stimulation, of which one induced ventricular fibrillation and one caused ventricular tachycardia." [LINK]

What does "cause heart to behave erratically" imply about delayed cardiac issues? [LINK]

"The team of doctors and scientists at the trauma centre in Chicago's Cook County hospital stunned 11 pigs with Taser guns in 2006, hitting their chests with 40-second jolts of electricity, pausing for 10 to 15 seconds, then hitting them for 40 more seconds. When the jolts ended, every animal was left with heart rhythm problems, the researchers said. Two of the animals died from cardiac arrest, one three minutes after receiving a shock." [LINK]

So, there is no basis for this "15-seconds" claim.

And there are several studies that indicate that this claim is simply not true.

It seems very clear that experts in electrocution deaths need to clear their minds before entering the taser-associated death discussion.

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