Session C1: Poster Session I (2:00 pm - 5:00 pm)

2:00 PM–2:00 PM, Monday, March 15, 2010
Room: Exhibit CD

Abstract ID: BAPS.2010.MAR.C1.271

Abstract: C1.00271 : How electroshock weapons kill!

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  Marjorie Lundquist
    (Bioelectromagnetic Hygiene Institute)

Growing numbers of law enforcement officers now carry an electroshock weapon (ESW). Over 500 U.S. deaths have followed ESW use in the past 26 years; over 450 of these deaths followed use of an electromuscular disruptor in the past 9 years. Most training courses teach that ESWs are safe; that they can kill only by the direct effect of electric current on the heart; and that a death following use of an ESW always has some {\it other} cause. {\bf All these teachings are false!} The last was disproved by Lundquist.$^1$ Williams$^2$ ruled out direct electrical effects as a cause of almost all the 213 deaths he studied, leaving disruption of normal physiological processes as the only alternative explanation. Careful study of all such deaths identifies 4 different ways that death has or could have been brought about by the ESW: kidney failure following rhabdomyolysis [rare]; cardiac arrest from hyperkalemia following rhabdomyolysis [undocumented]; lactic acid-induced ventricular fibrillation [conclusive proof impossible]; and [most common] anoxia from so much lactic acid in the circulating blood that it acts as an oxygen scavenger, continuously depleting the blood of oxygen until most of the lactate has been metabolized. $^1$M. Lundquist, {\bf BAPS 54}(1) K1.270(2009). $^2$Howard E. Williams, {\bf Taser Electronic Control Devices and Sudden In-Custody Death}, 2008.

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