Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Don't I Believe This?

Somehow, I find the doctor's testimony suspect:

“In Mr. Dziekanski's death, we know his [heart stopping] was not immediate, we know he had an adequate cardiac rhythm for a number of minutes following exposure to Taser,” said Dr. Swerdlow, who works at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles and also teaches at the University of California.

“So nothing here fits with direct cardiac electrical stimulation.”

Dr. Swerdlow also said that if the heart is affected by electrical current, the resulting heartbeat would be either too fast or irregular. The first time anyone noticed anything wrong with Mr. Dziekanski's heart was when firefighters arrived and found he had no pulse at all.

... and just what do we know about Dr. Swerdlow?

A cardiology expert paid by the company that makes Tasers told a public inquiry Tuesday he doesn't think Robert Dziekanski's death was at all related to the controversial stun guns.

Uh huh. So, this is one of the people Taser pays to claim that their weapon is "harmless". That's like going to a doctor paid by the tobacco company for an explanation of the relationship between lung cancer and tobacco smoke.

There have been far too many deaths occurring after people have been assaulted with these things for me to buy that there is "no connection" between their death and the jolt the Taser delivers. Once or twice is coincidence, after that we have to start getting suspicious.

Not being an MD myself, I can only speculate on how a Taser might cause death some minutes later. However, we know that electrical discharges can cause all sorts of problems with various parts of the nervous system and like all complex systems, the nervous system doesn't necessarily respond immediately or as we might have initially predicted.

For now, I think that Tasers should be treated by law enforcement with the same caution that firearms are.


Niles said...

"we know he had an adequate cardiac rhythm for a number of minutes following exposure to Taser,” said Dr. Swerdlow"

Uhm...we know what? How do we know this? Adequate how? Was he on a cardiac monitor while he was being ground into the floor? Someone still moving, however spastically, means the cardiac rhythm is a-ok?

The man died within moments on the heels of being electrocuted several times while being crush-restrained and given no medical monitoring.

Now, why is it that you're not supposed to hit a working heart with a defibrilator again?

Jafo said...

According to Dr. John Butt, who served as chief medical examiner in Alberta and Nova Scotia, there was nothing wrong with Dziekanski's heart. The fact that he was tasered multiple times is what lead to his death.

I ask you, would you really want to listen to the medical officer connected to the product that may have killed Dziekanski (Swerdlow) or a pathologist who is in no way connected?

I think it's kind of obvious. I'll be posting the story of John Butt on my blog tomorrow (with links).