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May 09, 2008

Cops tase 82-year-old heart patient in bed

RCMP officers used a taser to subdue an 82-year-old man in his hospital bed in Kamloops, B.C. last week. The man had become delusional and pulled a knife out of his pocket, police and nurses say. When he refused to drop the knife, the officers tased him three times.

I realize that anyone with a blade is potentially dangerous. I wouldn't expect the officers to try to wrest the knife from the guy. But surely there was a better solution to this problem.

Tasers can kill by disrupting the electrical conduction apparatus of the heart. Even apparently healthy adults and teenagers have died this way. Tasering an 82-year-old heart patient on oxygen seems especially dangerous.

[HT: Pandagon]

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Apparently you do not have experience in disarming crazies. If you move towards Ronnie Raygun, he might slash his throat or yours if you get too close. Ronnie is delusional and may not respond appropriately. Guns tend to be fatal.Ronnie may be slipping further into dementia. You may not be able to approach and use a manual disarm. A Taser allows you to lessen the threat level and not increase the risk of damage. Some WATB will whine that police are paid to be injured on the job. Yes, there are risks. But I'll do my level best to reduce the harm to myself and others.

In the Bad Old Days we'd either beat them senseless (coup and countrecoup) or shoot them. Tasers are the lesser evil.

This has got to be an urban myth. I mean, what about officer training? Aren't officers trained to wrest knives?

Like I said, I don't think they should have tried to disarm him. On the other hand, he was an old guy on oxygen in a hospital bed who couldn't breathe. I don't think he was poised to rampage around the hospital. Why not just step back from the bed and wait him out?

Didn't that disoriented, distraught Russian immigrant get killed by a Taser in the Vancouver airport? What is wrong with Canadian police, Lindsay? We generally expect better of them.

tasing someone is a form of disarming. One can use a blanket to wrap an arm quickly. Something that can't be cut easily be a hand knife. Police training, or hospital training ought to provide means of doing that. That seems doable. whether or not someone is elderly.

In prisons, guards use shields to block blows, and combining many persons to subdue one. Tasing someone can be less stressful than four to six people piling on, but protective devices for both sides of a confrontation seemed doable.

This really is an anecdote about police violence. Police training perhaps removing shoot to kill devices, and limiting tools to definitely non lethal options would help. The culture of military violence also contributes and needs to be shifted to more civilized values.

The thought of use of a blanket occurred to me also.

I don't think it would be that hard for two men to disarm this guy, especially if they used blankets or the like to envelop the hand holding the knife.

I'm sure they could have come up with a better solution. Police departments need better training with these devices, and need to learn that they aren't an end all be all solution to every problem. I'm certainly sick of hearing about their lack of poor judgement, that's for sure.

Where is Paul Neuman and his swivel hat and pillow distracting techniques when one needs them. I have never put my signature to the recommendation or purchase of High Voltage disabler products. " in one instance of two indian men struggling with a butcher shive,(late evning Clark Dr. and 12th, East Side Vancouver) i interjected myself and held the combatant from sticking himself; his woman had been murdered and he was despondent; after many (6) minutes, the other indian batted the knife away. Then VCP uniformed arrived and took the two into custody. Another remembered insident (i not involved) was a man waving a sissors at the old library bldg. The young constable, after giving the warning to put the sticker down, pulled out his revolver and shot (as trained ) to the vitals; killing him. " He was an ex British neuclear scientest with paranoia delusional thoughts " Using the least force protecting brother from brother is no easy task. ( in this instance, can i tasser him , i would not acknowledge, thats my judgement.)
Hospitals are usually very skilled at stopping harm. waiting him out seems the best option, which begs the question, why was this situation called in?
Not enough money for another care day?

Some WATB

lol projection. Cry moar harder.

Why not just step back from the bed and wait him out?

Because then they wouldn't get to be violent, bullying thugs. As Captain Waaaaaahmbulance above so aptly demonstrates, any solution outside the violent-thug rubric isn't even considered.

Given the appalling working and patient conditions in BC hospitals due - to a lack of funding and disgusting political decisions by the Liberal (in name only) government - it doesn't surprise me that this man had *blinks eyes incredulously* a knife in a pocket to begin with. How absurd is that?

When you look at all the stories coming out of BC something isn't adding up. We've got serial rapists and murderers walking away from minimum security jails and police tasering 82 year old hospital patients. A few screws are more than loose.

If I saw a person aiming a Taser or other electrical device at a man receiving oxygen, I would take defensive measures to protect myself and everyone else in the room from a severe fire / explosion hazard.

This whole story starts out crazy an gets crazier the longer you think about it. So many ways for it to go wrong.

"You got a genius in you, and you think crazies." -- Alfred Bester

A blanket? Maybe you would like to try this. Find your local knife fighter and ask them to slash at you with your Captain Kommando Universal Protection Blanket. Let me know if you lose all arm function, muscle connections, nerves, or if the lad just took out your intestines. This ain't no movie.

Officers are trained to take knives from those who are waving the blades about in an effort to injure others. Think of idiot teens. This man seemed to be more suicidal. That should have you realizing that the edge is near his throat and you can't get to him before he cuts.

Waiting out a crazy may be the best option...if you can. Lots of druggies/crazies have yet to plateau when the officers arrive so the situation does not become less dangerous. Our godlike powers of hindsight let us have the benefit of more data, more time to review the data, and no consequence for our failure to act.

In my original post I alluded to the use of batons. Mayhaps one should review the damages suffered after disarming. Let us not forget the infamous choke holds.

Canadian police have become taser-happy. This is a potentially lethal device, and an 82-year old on oxygen seems somewhat frail to begin with. Many non-lethal options are available, and time seems a good one. Understaffing and undertraining seems a major issue here. If staff had time to call police and they had time to come, then time wasn't an issue. This isn't a 20-year-old crackhead we're talking about.
I work in a hospital, with cognitively-impaired people, and we've never had call for such stupidity.

Use a long straight object or two. Broomstick or mop handle would be perfect. Obviously it helps if you're trained in knife defense. :-) Two people with crutches could do it. There must be hundreds of objects in a hospital that could be put to use to do the job. Two people on either side of the bed could use an object placed over the man to pin/constrain him. The important thing to do is to get control of the hand with the knife. That said, it is an extremely unpleasant situation. I would be very concerned that I might injure the old man.

Stewart's comment is right on. Hospital security should be prepared for this sort of event. Why not just wait? Was he even ambulatory? Was there real urgency here?

Ok, waiting him out or wresting the knife away would require time or effort.

I was laying on the bed by then and the corporal came in, or the sergeant, I forget which it was, and said to the guys, 'OK, get him because we got more important work to do on the street tonight,'" Lasser said.

They tased him for their convenience. Nice.

an 82 year old delusional man on oxygen is not your local knife fighter. A lot depends on specific details - what sort of knife, how strong did he look, etc... But barring imminent harm to himself or others, a taser seems suboptimal -- if the guy had a bad ticker, we'd probably be reading about a fatality.

And yeah, unless the knife was quite sharp, a thick blanket will probably do wonders.

Heart Doctors: No Question Tasers Cause Lethal Heart Attacks
http://www.infowars.net/articles/may2008/220508Tasers.htm
As reported by the Canadian Press, Dr. Michael Janusz, a heart surgeon and professor of surgery at the University of British Columbia, told the Vancouver inquiry "almost all physicians would conclude that Tasers can induce ventricular fibrillation."
Ventricular fibrillation is a condition in which there is uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle of the ventricles in the heart, making them tremble rather than contract properly. If the arrhythmia continues for more than a few seconds, blood circulation ceases, and death occurs in a matter of minutes.
The tech literature of 1975 told designers of medical monitoring equipment of this hazzard. The marketing process is so slick, it has greased the palms, to where we are at now..

If all of you were in that situation, you had to think of what to do, what actions to take in the shortest possible time. I bet you all will be confused too and might make impulsive actions that are often not the best.
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