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Individuals suffering from ED should be viewed as psychiatric patients and require immediate medical attention. ED is a medical emergency. The video below illustrates a prime example of an excited delirium case.
The aggressiveness, hyperactivity, incoherent shouting, and extreme paranoia exhibited by the suspect in the video are always associated with ED. This suspicion is confirmed by the fact that the suspect was found to be hyperthermic as indicated by not wearing a shirt. Individuals often disrobe or are found naked. This person had an eventual cardiorespiratory collapse in the absence of lethal force. With a completed brain autospy showing the biological signature of ED, it can be concluded that excited delirium played a role in this man's death. In order for police officers to avoid situations like the one shown, it is essential to understand and recognize excited delirium when it presents itself.
Victims of excited delirium display sudden onset of paranoia and alternate between calm behavior and extreme agitation. When confronted by police, who are invariably called to the scene, the victim intensifies the violence and paranoia. An intense struggle ensues, when the victim exhibits incredible "superhuman" strength and is impervious to the usual police techniques of pain control, including pepper spray, peroneal baton strikes, and in certain cases, TASER deployment. The intense struggle requires the efforts of many police officers, who are finally able to restrain the victim and apply ankle and/or wrist restraints. Usually, within minutes of being restrained, the victim loses all vital signs. Core body temperatures average 105 degrees. . Resuscitation of these cases often results in a failed course of hospital treatment, characterized by a fatal sequence of rhabdomyolysis and renal failure.
Things to look for:
Investigators must document what occured at the scene. Record or note body temperature. Ask for EMS personnel to record the temperature of the person. Attention to details may help medical examiners in determining the cause and manner of death.
Excited delirum is a medical emergency.
Patients exhibiting signs of excited delirium require supportive care immediately:
- Sedation with benzodiazepines
- External cooling
- Intravenous fluids
- Maintain on cardiac and respiratory monitor
- ER treatment of rhabdomyolysis and hyperkalemia