Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh well then

Two experts on the TASER™ payroll testified at the Braidwood Inquiry that they don't believe that the five TASER™ jolts inflicted on Robert Dziekanski contributed to his death.

Dorin Panescu, an electrical engineer who received $92,896 from TASER™ last year for "consulting work " :
"With a high degree of scientific certitude, it is my opinion that Mr. Dziekanski's death was not caused by, and not contributed by, the use of a TASER X26."
Dr. Charles Swerdlow, a US cardiac electrophysiologist on Taser International's scientific medical advisory board :
"There is no medical, scientific evidence to support the conclusion that [conducted energy weapon] discharges contributed to Mr. Dziekanski's death. The circumstances of Mr. Dziekanski's death are typical of the poorly understood syndrome of sudden, in-custody death, often occurring after restraint."
That would be the "poorly understood syndrome of sudden in-custody death, often occurring after restraint" in conjunction with five applications of 50,000 volts.

The National Post, the Province and all the other cross-Canada CanWest papers helpfully ran this story under the headline : "'Experts' say Taser did not kill Dziekanski" or just "Taser did not kill Dziekanski".
Update : Via Chunklets in comments : an item from CanWest's Suzanne Fornier, whose coverage has been excellent and who does not get to write her own headlines, although I have no quibble with this one : Alcohol allegation not backed up : doctor

"An eminent forensic pathologist told the Braidwood inquiry Wednesday that Robert Dziekanski's death -- after five Taser jolts and restraint by the RCMP -- was likely a "cardiac-related" death linked to the Tasering.

Dr. John Butt, who received the Order of Canada in 2000 for his work over almost four decades, disagreed with the report by pathologist Dr. Charles Lee that failed to mention use of the Taser but did conclude "chronic alcoholism" contributed to Dziekanski's death."



thwap said...

So, sudden, in-custody death, often occuring after restraint is a medical "syndrome"?

All the torture-states have been scribbling madly into their notepads.

Oh! And the historians! "Stalin's USSR was afflicted with a terrible outbreak of 'sudden, in-custody death, often occuring after restraint' syndrome. The government was at a complete loss on how to confront this terrible new scourge."

Boris said...

Geez I sure hope the WHO and CDC should study the pandemic risk of this illness. Can we get one of their experts on the stand to comment on this illness?

Alison said...

Thwap : It's the newest variation on the ever popular "guns don't kill people; bullets kill people"

Last year Matthew B. Stanbrook MD PhD at the Canadian Medical Association wrote a very snarky article which began :
"In this issue, we call your attention to an emerging and increasingly popular medical device: the taser."
Despite its satirical tone, the article is packed with research on
TASER™ and its ability to get its product declared off limits to pathologists doing autopsies.

RossK said...

It's a funny thing about bogus headlines....

You could run a similar one that said....

"CanWest Did Not Kill Quality Print Journalism In Canada!"

And it would be just as silly and just as unsupported by the actual, you know, facts.


Patrick C said...

Looks like their bluff got called, though, which is a good thing...

Anonymous said...

They could even probably get away with putting the word 'quality' in quotes, as the National Ghost did for 'Experts'.

Alison, why do you always write TASER™ in CAPS? I mean, doesn't that admit to the same kind of promo?


Alison said...

Thanks, Chunklets - added to post.

Well, Tim, you know that adage about how all publicity is good publicity? Well it isn't. ;-)

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