Although the “old” version of this letter remains on this page,
in January, 2006, I created and posted a PDF FILE of Dr’s Reay’s STATEMENT.
The PDF File contains a Signed & Notarized Affidavit evidencing the
validity of Dr. Reay having written it!
TO PRINT THIS STATEMENT, it is easiest to do so from THE PDF FILE!
If you don’t have an Adobe Acrobat PDF file program, you can download a FREE version HERE.
Here is the “old” version:
[A statement written by Dr. Donald T. Reay
originally posted here on July 1st, 1998.]
They found no significant differences between the two groups except in respiratory function studies, where hog tying resulted in a restrictive pulmonary function pattern of some 14%, which they viewed as clinically insignificant.
This study showed that our study in 1988 (Am J Forensic Med Pathol 1988;9:16-18), which measured only cutaneous (skin) oxygen saturation, was incorrect and flawed and our interpretation that hog tying produces physiological consequences of recovery times as measured by pulse and oxygen saturation was contradicted by their work.
I readily acknowledged the value of these studies in the San Diego case of “Price vs. San Diego” which had many other features besides hog-tying in the restraint maneuvers used to control the victim. This has since been presented in law enforcement publications as my retraction of positional asphyxia as a cause of death, with particular reference to hog-tying.
Such is not the case! I still maintain that there are risks and hazards to restraint maneuvers including hog-tying and each case must be evaluated to assess the presence or absence of respiratory restriction in the light of the method of restraint.
A 280-pound man with a large abdominal panniculus* is at risk in the face down position as well as a person with obstructive pulmonary disease. And there are many shades in between.
The point is that street deaths are much different than controlled investigations. If 14% respiratory restriction by hog-tying is not viewed as clinically significant in normal people, it has to be evaluated in the context of the event where it may be significant. It may be that physical restraint produces metabolic breakdown of muscle, which floods the body with potassium to cause cardiac standstill or that stimulants such as cocaine producing excited delirium, mediate a lethal reflex during restraint.
Not enough is yet known to say whether a method of restraint is free of any potentially lethal effects.
* “a large abdominal panniculus” is a medically polite phrase meaning, “a large layer of abdominal fat.”
Dr. Donald T. Reay was Chief Medical Examiner
of King County, Seattle, Washington for 24 years.
His numerous forensic pathology research studies and clinical articles
have been published in many medical journals, most often in
The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology.
Although he retired in 1999, Dr. Reay continues to be considered
the “Guru” of positional asphyxia (Restraint Asphyxia) research.