Introduction of the conducted electrical weapon into a hospital setting

Jeffrey D Ho, Joseph E Clinton, Mark A Lappe, William G Heegaard, Martin F Williams, James R Miner
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2011, 41 (3): 317-23

BACKGROUND: The TASER(®) X26 Conducted Electrical Weapon (CEW) provides painful stimuli and neuromuscular incapacitation to potentially violent persons. Use by law enforcement in society is common. Presenting a CEW is known to de-escalate some situations. Health care personnel sometimes encounter violent persons within the confines of the hospital. CEW use by health care security personnel has not been described.

OBJECTIVE: The objective is to describe results from the introduction of the CEW into a hospital environment.

METHODS: Upon introducing the CEW into an urban hospital campus, standardized reports were made describing all CEW use by hospital security. Reports were retrospectively reviewed for the first 12 months of CEW use. Collected data included force options used, potential injuries avoided, witness comments, outcomes, and whether the CEW required full activation or if inactive presentation was sufficient to control the situation. Rates of security personnel injuries were also gathered. Descriptive analysis was applied.

RESULTS: Twenty-seven CEW deployments occurred: four were inactive presentation, 20 were presentation with LASER sight activation, and three were probe deployments with a 5-s delivery of electrical current. Two persons required evaluation for minor injuries not related to CEW use. Witnesses reported that in all incidents, injuries were likely avoided due to CEW presentation or use. CEW use aborted one suicide attempt. Personnel injury rates decreased during the study period.

CONCLUSION: CEW introduction into a health care setting demonstrated the ability to avert and control situations that could result in further injury to subjects, patients, and personnel. This correlates with a decrease in injury for hospital personnel. Further study is recommended for validation.

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