Latest News 2010 July Taser Shocked to Death

Taser Shocked to Death

Cincinnati news reported that psychiatric patient, Kelly Brinson, was taser shocked to death while bound in a hospital bed, which prompted a wrongful death lawsuit. Brinson's family holds both the University of Cincinnati police for excessive force and University Hospital in negligence of care, responsible.

Brinson had submitted himself to psychiatric care on January 17 for many disorders: paranoid schizophrenia, delusions, and bi-polar disorder, among other unnamed disorders. Within 3 days, when he became angry because his cell phone/radio was taken from him, hospital staff injected him with the strong tranquilizer Haldol.

After being moved to a private room, waiting for the drug to take effect, no less than 7 police entered, stood behind his bed and shocked him once with a taser. Then, after restraining the patient, they taser shocked him again.  No apparent reason has been given for the second taser shock while the patient was presumably already fully restrained.

Three days later and on a respirator, making his total hospital stay to date only 6 days, 45 year-old Brinson went into full cardiac arrest and died.

A state investigation did put the hospital on probation but later lifted it as the hospital made plans to correct issues. However on February 5th the psychiatric unit was placed under probation, and has remained there, by the Ohio Department of Mental Health.

Don Moor, attorney for the Brinson family, has named at least16 officers or institutions in the suit. Fourty-four counts include a show of force, escalating threats that included handcuffing, rushing Brinson and taser shocks to both hip and chest area.

Taser International suggested police desist from taser shocks to the chest area while chief of police, Gene Gerrara, vehemently denied that Brinson was taser shocked in his chest.

What's interesting now is that Coroner O'dell Owens has determined that Brinson died from "excited delirium", a controversial term since the 1980's that marries increased body temperature with lowered levels of potassium to produce fatal consequences. Yet legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, James Hardiman, feels that "No reputable medical organization, doctor or coroner recognizes anything like excited delirium."

CBS news reported on a similar case that unfolded in Canada where Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, was caught on video being shocked by a taser gun 5 times in a confrontation with police officers in a Vancouver airport. Dziekanski, overly distraught waiting for his mother for 10 hours in the airport, had been seen throwing furniture around. After officers used their taser gun to subdue him, he died before medical personal even arrived. In that case, the deceased allegedly had a stapler to defend himself with and wasn't handcuffed, under sedation, or in a mental ward like Brinson.  Dziekanski's event was more fueled by public discord, due to the captured video, while Brinson was alone.

Money sought from the Brinson lawsuit is not yet stated but the ultimate goal of the family is to seek a change in policy. Specifically, that no other psychiatric patient be taser shocked and handcuffed.  The thought alone keeps the nightmares close Brinson's relatives.

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