[See "Police Hogtie Restraint Doesn't Kill, Evidence Now Shows" and
"Hog-Tied Revisited" in my RESTRAINT ASPHYXIA LIBRARY.]
Based upon Dr. Reay's response ("Hog-Tied Revisited"), it is clear that the San Diego Union-Tribune article contains seriously dangerous MISinformation.
Dr. Reay did not "retract" his research regarding hobble restraint and its contribution to death by positional asphyxia! He merely admitted that Chan et al's study used more accurate methods of measuring blood oxygenation levels (as compared to those available to him when performing his 1980's research). Obviously, I was quite relieved by Dr. Reay's reassurance that he had not "retracted" his positional asphyxia and hobble restraint research!
In his July, 1998, letter to the editor of Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Reay further explains his position about, and reservations concerning, Chan et al's November, 1997 Annals article, "Restraint Position and Positional Asphyxia."
[See "Reay's Letter to Annals Of Emergency Medicine" and
Chan et al's article in my RESTRAINT ASPHYXIA LIBRARY.]
Additionally, within their own article, Chan et al readily admitted that, "It is unlikely that [our study's] period of exercise would simulate all the physiologic alterations that may occur with struggle and agitation ... It is possible that a combination of factors, including underlying medical condition, intoxication, agitation, delirium, and struggle as well as body position, may result in respiratory compromise that would not be detected by our study."
ADDITIONALLY: I have identified serious FLAWS
in the methods used by Chan et al - flaws that render their findings INVALID!
[See, "CHARLY'S REVIEW of Chan et al.'s Restraint Position Article"
in my RESTRAINT ASPHYXIA LIBRARY.]
Apparently, none of the study's flaws were introduced in court.
And, they certainly weren't reported by the Union-Tribune's staff writer!
Unfortunately, the Union-Tribune MISinformation-filled article fuels the fire of those who fear and fight "change" - even when "change" clearly means the adoption of better, safer, methods of operation. Since the Union-Tribune article's publication, lawyers and police department officials across the country have been eager to use its MISinformation to support and defend the continued use of hobble restraint (especially in court).
[See: "An Example of what Dangerous Misinformation Can Do!"
in my RESTRAINT ASPHYXIA LIBRARY.]
Personally, up until the year 2000, I had no objection to defending officers (or EMS providers) who hadn't been educated about the dangers of positional asphyxia from use of forceful prone and prone-hobble restraint. However, this subject has been ignored and pussy-footed around long enough!
By now, all EMS, Fire, Law Enforcement and Correctional agencies in this country have heard about positional asphyxia deaths related to forceful-prone or prone-hobble restraints. With the enormous body of case studies and forensic medical research that clearly indicates a relationship between restraint and positional asphyxia, such deadly restraint practices should already be banned.
It is vitally important, however, that restraint-users be educated about the dangers of forceful-prone or prone-hobble restraint. Simply "ordering" someone to stop using time-honored techniques will not stop forceful-prone or prone-hobble restraint use - nor the Restraint Asphyxia deaths they contribute to. In times of stress (such as when faced with the impressive combativeness exhibited by those who traditionally require forceful prone and prone-hobble restraint), uneducated individuals will revert to "traditional" practices.
This is not a reflection of restraint-users' "lack of adherence to orders" or a "lack of discipline!" It is a reflection of their human nature to rely upon best-known practices in times of stress.
Only with education can we successfully replace forceful-prone or prone-hobble restraint practices with safer, equally as effective, methods of restraint. And, since safer and equally as effective restraint methods do exist, it is imperative that we fight to educate others - fight to discontinue the use of restraint methods that contribute to death by positional asphyxia.
In conclusion, it is clear that the San Diego Union-Tribune article contains seriously dangerous MISinformation. This article is an invalid excuse for the continued support of forceful-prone or prone-hobble restraint practices.
Ms. Charly D. Miller, EMT-P