Law Enforcement Injuries
The Advanced Taser current causes uncontrollable muscle contraction and overwhelming pain that incapacitates the subject. The weapon can be turned off before the end of the five second default period. The barbs remain attached until removed. This allows further electrical discharges to be delivered via the copper wires should the subject resume non-compliant and threatening behaviour. The cartridge can be detached from the weapon allowing it to be used as a stun gun in close quarters.
The 26 watt Advanced Taser was developed after attempts to improve the effectiveness of an earlier 7 watt Taser system that was defeated by “focused” volunteers who were able to fight through its effects. These delivered between 40 000 to 100 000 volts at only 3 to 4 mA. Trials of increasing the pulse rate and pulse power demonstrated that increases in pulse power were more effective.
The Advanced Taser delivers a sequence of half sine wave current pulses, each having a peak amplitude of about 18 amps and a duration of about 11 microseconds.5 The peak voltage output of the device is as high as 50 000 volts.
Police officers are taught to remove them by stretching the surrounding skin and tugging sharply. The 4 mm depth is not deep enough to threaten internal organs or cause a pneumothorax (Emerg Med J 2004; 21:136-140)
A stunning review from journalfeed
This was a review of the literature on conducted energy weapons to answer these questions.
- Do these patients need cardiac monitoring, ECG, or troponin measurement after a shock under 15 seconds? If a patient is awake, alert, and had a <15 second shock, there is no indication for ECG, prolonged cardiac monitoring, or measurement of troponin.
- What about checking other labs? There have been no studies that found electrolyte abnormalities. Some have found clinically insignificant elevations of lactate and CK. So, the answer is no.
- Anything to be done with a shock in “drive stun” or touch stun mode (directly applied to person)? No, it may cause minor skin irritation or small burns at the contact sites that do not require intervention.
- What about when the probe is fired at a patient (“probe mode”)? This is where most of the problems arise. The probe may cause eye injury, vascular puncture, or nerve injury. In addition, spinal compression fracture or other soft tissue injury from forceful muscle contractions or fall with blunt trauma occurs rarely, 0.5% in real world use.
Emergency Department Evaluation After Conducted Energy Weapon Use: Review of the Literature for the Clinician. J Emerg Med. 2019 Sep 6. pii: S0736-4679(19)30553-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2019.06.
Prevention of CS tear gas eye and skin effects and active decontamination with Diphoterine: Preliminary studies in 5 French Gendarmes Journal of Emergency Medicine Volume 29, Issue 1 , July 2005, Pages 5-8
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