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Taser and Taser Associated Injuries: A Case Series

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Taser devices were introduced in 1974 and are increasingly used by law enforcement agencies. Taser use theoretically reduces the risk of injury and death by decreasing the use of lethal force. We report a spectrum of injuries sustained by four patients subdued with Taser devices. Injuries identified in our review included: 1) a basilar skull fracture, right subarachnoid hemorrhage, and left-sided epidural hemorrhage necessitating craniotomy; 2) a concussion, facial laceration, comminuted nasal fracture, and orbital floor fracture; 3) penetration of the outer table and cortex of the cranium by a Taser probe with seizure-like activity reported by the officer when the Taser was activated; and 4) a forehead hematoma and laceration. The Taser operator's manual states that these devices are designed to incapacitate a target from a safe distance without causing death or permanent injury. However, individuals may be exposed to the potential for significant injury. These devices represent a new mechanism for potential injury. Trauma surgeons and law enforcement agencies should be aware of the potential danger of significant head injuries as a result of loss of neuromuscular control.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Department of Surgery, University of Kansas School of Medicine—Wichita, Wichita, Kansas; and the 2: From the *Department of Surgery, University of Kansas School of Medicine—Wichita, Wichita, Kansas; and the †Division of Trauma, Via Christi Regional Medical Center, Wichita, Kansas 3: From the Department of Surgery, University of Kansas School of Medicine—Wichita, Wichita, Kansas; and the, Division of Trauma, Via Christi Regional Medical Center, Wichita, Kansas

Publication date: 01 September 2008

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