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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Study finds Tasers safe for those they are used on

    A new study suggesting Tasers pose little risk to those receiving the shocks has sparked further debate over their safety.

    The research, which was presented at the American College of Emergency Physicians' Research forum in Seattle, arrives amid a number of high-profile reports of police incidents involving Tasers in recent weeks.

    Lead study investigator Dr. William Bozeman, an emergency medicine specialist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., emphasizes that, when used in appropriate situations, Tasers are much better than alternative means.

    "This is the first real-world application study regarding the injury incurred by these weapons, because previous studies have encompassed either human volunteers or animals," he says.

    In his research of 597 past situations in which Tasers were used by police officers, Bozeman found that serious injuries were rare, occurring only 0.3 percent of the time.

    Bozeman adds that he was anticipating a higher level of injury -- injuries that might require hospital admission or incur long-term disability.

    Dr. Gary Vilke, professor of clinical medicine at the University of California at San Diego agrees with the findings.

    "Research with police officers shows only minor injuries, such as those related to muscle contractions, no electrical injuries and one vertebral injury," he says. "I do not see any future problems."

    But Dr. Corey Slovis, professor and chairman of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University, says other recent research suggests that the weapons may be dangerous for some.

    "I think that Tasers in normal subjects are safe," he says, "but I am concerned that emerging evidence may show that they may change the underlying heart rhythm of individuals who do not have a normal conduction system -- such as those using cocaine, those who are dehydrated, agitated, hypoxic or those taking anti-psychotics."

    While Slovis says he once concurred with the conclusions presented in the current research regarding Taser safety, he now harbors some concerns, many of which stem from recent research on pigs.
    In the research Slovis cites, the heart activity of the pigs was studied as they were being zapped with a Taser. What this study showed was that the heart rates of the animals jumped to more than 130 beats per minute at the time they were shocked -- a finding that leads Slovis to wonder whether the same kind of dangerous, racing rhythm occurs in human hearts as well.

    "Tasers save lives, but Tasers are not perfectly safe," he says. "A Taser should not be used unless force is absolutely necessary. I am no longer convinced that Tasers are blameless."

    However, Dr. Michael Lutes, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, notes that the pig study "did not tell much about the safety of the device."

    He adds that law enforcement officers, before they are authorized to use the device on other people must endure a Taser shock themselves. Despite this requirement, no adverse effects have yet been reported by any of these officers.

    But Slovis says that the ability of police officers in prime health to endure a Taser shock would not necessarily represent that of the people most likely to receive such a shock -- many of whom may have systems weakened by drugs, agitation or other factors.

    Still, Lutes says even this subset is likely safe from serious health consequences. "The jury is still out on that, but given the large size of the study, [Tasers] are probably safe in this subset of individuals.

    "[Tasers] are a weapon. It's not designed as a medical device, and they will save people in certain situations where they may have been shot."

    Recent events involving Tasers have polarized public opinion on the devices. Last month, University of Florida student Andrew Meyer received a "Tase" by police during his arrest for disturbing the peace while asking a question during a speech by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the university.

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/Health/sto...3695594&page=1
    Tasers Safe? New Study Sparks More Debate


    Research Suggests Devices Pose Little Health Risk; Amnesty Group Urges Caution


    By STEPHANIE TODD, M.D. and DAN CHILDS
    ABC News Medical Unit
    Oct. 8, 2007

  2. #2
    10-42Adam's Avatar
    10-42Adam is offline Major
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    Damn. I wish I had this article about 4 days ago when I wrote a paper on tasers! Oh well.
    Calm Like A Bomb...

    A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
    -Winston Churchill

  3. #3
    MacLean's Avatar
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    At least they got one part right - Tasers are a weapon.

    Weapons are supposed to hurt, and the fact that this particular weapon causes very few permanent injuries is a bonus.
    I'm your huckleberry...

    Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!

    You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.


    I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
    but every girl I found was either one way or the other...



  4. #4
    mack's Avatar
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    Having been certified in the use of the Taser and having recieved the ride, I can say that while it sucks it is effective. As Maclean says it is a weapon. It is supposed to stop a suspect, and in most cases does. There can be adverse effects from pepper spray for people with allergies but who has time to stop and ask someone their medical history so we can decide what deterent is going to be effective. I'm sorry, when it comes to officer safety I don't care what the medical history is, the objective is to stop the suspect from doing what s/he is doing. If that means 50,000 volts to the suspect and me seeing the end of my shift, guess what bud your getting the volts.

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  5. #5
    Cidp24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    In the research Slovis cites, the heart activity of the pigs was studied as they were being zapped with a Taser. What this study showed was that the heart rates of the animals jumped to more than 130 beats per minute at the time they were shocked -- a finding that leads Slovis to wonder whether the same kind of dangerous, racing rhythm occurs in human hearts as well.
    Ok, I'm no doctor or scientist but picture this: A pig is one of the more intelligent species of animal, but, there he is, hooked up to a bunch of electrical crap, his movements are restricted, and he gets the juice shot to him. What the heck do they THINK this is going to do to the heart rate of an animal that does not EVEN understand what the heck is happening to him?? For all he knows he is about to be on someone's Christmas dinner table.
    At least most of the time a human knows roughly what a taser is and they know that they caused themselves to get hit with it.
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  6. #6
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    It is a fact that the taser has saved lives with me.
    I would have 4 kills by now if it wasnt for it.
    http://www.allpoetry.com/Grunts%20Girl

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    While waves wrapped
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    'Round mule spinners

    His cyanotic eyes
    Were hard enough to make
    The sun turn tail and
    Tender enough to attract me
    To his world of illusion

  7. #7
    armsmaster270's Avatar
    armsmaster270 is offline Ret. Sac. P.D. - 270th M.P. Co., Now with D.H.S.
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    Beats the alternitive


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  8. #8
    Bob Loblaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armsmaster270 View Post
    Beats the alternitive
    from the perspective of the suspect, you're damn right.
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