Two Letters to the Editor and the Authors’ Reply
Regarding Vilke et al’s
Healthy Human Subjects Taser Study Report

Letter #1 CITATION:
Strote J, Hutson HR. Taser safety remains unclear. Ann Emerg Med, July 2008; V 52, No 1, Pgs 84-85.

In summary, we feel that the authors’ comment that there are “no clinically relevant changes”
may be applicable to many individuals, but it is potentially misleading about Taser safety.
Only by recreating realistic field conditions where deaths have occurred can the true danger of
conducted electrical weapons be tested. In these situations, the changes noted in this study
could indeed be clinically significant and potentially fatal.

Letter #2 CITATION:
Koscove EM. Physiological effects of the Taser. Ann Emerg Med, July 2008; V 52, No 1, Pg 85.

However, Dr. Vilke’s finding of a lactate elevation lasting 30 minutes after Tasering raises an
important question. In a patient with agitation and sympathomimetic elevation in the presence
of cocaine or methamphetamine, could further agitation or patient struggling, with additional
release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, in the presence of an elevated lactate partially
induced by Tasering, lead to the delayed onset of fatal arrhythmia in that 30 minutes?
Even in the absence of further struggling, is the elevated lactate level arrhythmogenic by itself?

Vilke GM, Sloane CM, Neuman TS, Castillo EM, Chan TC, Kolkhorst FW.
In reply. Ann Emerg Med, July 2008; V 52, No 1, Pgs 85-86.

Additionally, there has been no work published to demonstrate that a restrained individual will
have “compensatory ventilation. . .limited by restraint.” In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Position and restraint have been shown to be essentially physiologically neutral and there is no
reason to assume, nor data to support, the speculation that an individual who is restrained
could not compensate for a pH change of 0.02 units.


Vilke et al continue to cite the ridiculous 1997 Chan et al restraint position study as if it had a legitimate
relationship to real-life situations. It does NOT – it never has. And, these authors know this!

When their study methods are challenged as being unrelated to real-life situations, Vilke/Chan et al offer the
same excuse they always have; that a “high risk of death” prevents them from using “stimulant intoxicated
human subjects
” – prevents them from employing study parameters that come even close to real-life
situations. Thus, the Vilke/Chan et al studies remain useful only as a defense-via-confusion ploy (something
desperately sought by individuals hoping to legally and morally absolve themselves from causing someone’s
death with their inappropriate Taser use, and/or their employment of an asphyxial form of restraint).

Since that is the only manner in which their research information is “useful,” why do YOU think the
Vilke/Chan et al types continue wasting time and money designing and performing studies that cannot
possibly yield legitimate, real-life related results?

I’ve posted this Annals of Emergency Medicine article in PDF file format.
If you don’t have an Adobe Acrobat PDF file program, you can download a FREE version HERE.

Two Letters to the Editor and the Authors’ Reply
Regarding Vilke et al’s Healthy Human Subjects Taser Study Report

This PDF of Letters was originally posted June 19, 2008.

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