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St. Petersburg, Florida

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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Taser-Related Deaths

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I wonder if medpundit will be taking any evening walks in the park this week. In an article reporting on a lawsuit by Taser International, Inc., some opinions expressed by medpundit could bring on a late night zapping to demonstrate the safety of a Taser.

Taser Fights Back

Taser, the makers of stun-guns, is suing our local medical examiner because she listed Tasers as a cause of death on two death certificates:

Taser International Inc. lawyers claim in their suit that Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler lacks the expertise to connect its weapon to the 2005 deaths of Dennis Hyde, 30, and Richard Holcomb, 18, both of Akron.

Not only were both from Akron, but both were high on stimulants:

Holcomb died in May 2005 after being stunned with a Taser by a Springfield Township police officer. Hyde died in January of that year after being shocked with a Taser by Akron police.

Hyde’s death was attributed to probable arrhythmia from methamphetamine use and electrical pulse incapacitation. Holcomb’s death was attributed to cardiac arrhythmia coupled with methamphetamine and Ecstasy use.

The medical evidence supports the medical examiner. Pig hearts go into abnormal rhythms more easily under taser stimulation when they’ve been given epinephrine – a condition which would be similar to using amphetamines in people.

No doubt police departments are starting to back away from using Tasers, as they themselves are being sued all around the country for using the device. Which is probably why Taser is suing to try to clear its name. Given the preponderance of evidence, that approach isn’t likely to work.

In Florida I learn each month of new instances of multiple Tasering in situations where even the first application does not appear to be warranted.