Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Police fatally shot a naked man chewing on the face of another naked man

Miami police officers stand watch near a naked man who was shot dead by a police officer. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald)[1]

He is probably just misunderstood and needs someone to talk with/

Upon witnessing what he describes as a scene out of a horror movie, Vega managed to flag down a Miami Police officer. “Police officer came over, told him several times to get off, and a police officer climbed over the divider and got in front of him and said, ‘Get off!’ And told him several times, and the guy just stood his head up like that with a piece of flesh in his mouth and growled,” said Vega.

When the attack continued, Vega says the officer fired but the man continued to chew flesh off the victim. The officer fired several more times, eventually killing the attacker, who, according to published reports, has been identified as 31-year-old Rudy Eugene.[2]

Are they jumping to conclusions in calling this excited delirium?

Was this somebody the police could have been reasoned with to calm him down and have a discussion? Maybe the benefits of using condiments, or perhaps he should consider switching to donuts?

Do I fault this officer for shooting Mr. Eugene?

Was the dead guy unarmed? Yes and No.

How did the other guy, the one with his face 75% chewed off, end up in the ICU from an unarmed person? Conventional weapons are not the only threats to life. In this case, the teeth of this person may be considered lethal. If the other man dies, that would be definitive confirmation.

Would a TASER have produced a worse outcome?

Only if the TASER barbs missed the intended target.

The worst case scenario is a dead person – if we believe those who claim that TASERs kill. There is no evidence that TASERs increase the rate of in-custody deaths. The people TASERs are used on are already at high risk of death without a TASER, so why do we blame a piece of equipment that has not been demonstrated to produce a fatal outcome?

Is this the kind of patient to sedate?

Only after he has been fully restrained, preferably by the use of a TASER (the preference is mine).

Should we be worried about emergence delirium, if we used ketamine? Maybe, but how would we be able to tell?

Will I be surprised if the lab results show drugs in his system? No.

Will I be surprised if the lab results do not show drugs in his system? No.

There are other causes of excited delirium. Drugs are most common, so a wise bet would be to bet on there being drugs in his system, but enough patients experience excited delirium without drugs that we would be behaving inappropriately if we did not consider other causes of altered mental status, such as hypoglycemia, head injury, either a clot or a bleed in the brain, or any of the other possible causes of excited delirium.

We do not know what caused this.

If we assume that the person is someone who would never touch drugs, should we ignore the possibility of excited delirium? Shouldn’t we try to restrain him in the most humane way that is appropriate for the conditions?

If we assume that the person is someone a bad person, should we ignore the possibility of excited delirium? Shouldn’t we try to restrain him in the most humane way that is appropriate for the conditions?

Footnotes:

[1] Man Critically Injured in Face Chewing Attack on Miami Highway – Police fatally shot a naked man chewing on the face of another naked man
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
JEMS.com
Article

[2] New details in attacker accused of chewing off man’s face
wvsn.com
Posted: Today at 6:15 am EDT Last Updated: Today at 4:12 pm EDT
Article

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Comments

  1. Tasers do not stop zombies.

    If they had shot him in the head, he’d have stopped right away. As it is, he’ll probably wake up in the morgue, and live to chew again.

  2. Good to see some thoughtful analysis of this incident. I hope the ensuing investigation results are made public, especially his postmortem lab results.

    The zombie theory seems to be running wild among EMS providers. While ridiculous, some comments have been pretty amusing. Among my favorites was this one posted by a friend of mine…

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42690024/IMG_0454.JPG

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