Man Gets Taser Dart in His Frontal Lobe

For this bizarre story I thank the incomparable Vaughan Bell, who writes brilliantly on all things neuro, psych, and weird. Follow him at Twitter, at  Mind Hacks, where he frequently blogs, and in his work for the Guardian and Slate. He’s amazing. And he brought this to Mind Hacks:

 

A case report in Forensic Science International describes a man who had a taser dart penetate his skull and damage his frontal lobes after getting in a drunken confrontation with police.

Curiously, the man was unaware he had a taser dart in his brain and only went to hospital after he got home and noticed the dart sticking out of his head.

A 27 old man was immobilized by the police while he struggled with a police officer during an identification check and attempted an escape. He had a high level of alcohol at the time of the arrest. A X26 Taser was used to incapacitate and subdue the victim.

No immediate medical examination was subsequently performed in the patient after the wires were propelled and he was allowed to return home. However, because he complained of a headache, he decided to go to the nearest hospital a few hours later.

Upon presentation at the Emergency Department the patient was conscious. The examination revealed a harpoon-like barbed electrode dart implanted in the right frontal part of the skull and a right peri-orbital bruise…

The brain CT scan revealed an encephalic injury in the right area of the frontal lobe. In fact, the probe was implanted in the frontal area of the skull and then in the right frontal cortex with a penetration depth of a few millimeters.

There’s a moral in this story somewhere but damned if I can find it.

One moral might be: Here’s one more piece of evidence that tasers aren’t quite as safe as we’re told. It certainly seems obvious they shouldn’t be directed at the head. The journal article has a short review of overlooked hazards and deaths in its penultimate section; they include pharyngeal performation, daarts in the eyes, and some deaths.

via Don’t tase my lobe « Mind Hacks.

30 Comments

    1. If you cannot behave yourself around a taser, stay away from drunks.  Also if you can’t form complete sentences, do it away from the keyboard.

  1. There is a far more simplistic moral, about the basic stupidity behind some people drinking, and the morons they become when they do. Would reading about a couple of injured officers who needed medical attention after trying to subdue the rampaging village idiot be more palatable? Any tool used in law enforcement to subdue the unruly can go awry, even the humble night stick. I’ve seen my share of drunks in my 57 years and anything that can save an officer injury trying to perform their duties is fair game to me.

    1. How about common sense and social skills?

      It seems that police used to talk to people before resorting to violent means.  Now technology has taken the people skills out of police work.  No wonder everyone hates the cops these days.

      1. “struggled with a police officer during an identification check and attempted an escape.” – First assumption (always made by the sheeple): because you wear a badge, you have the right to hassle people and demand identification at your whim (“your papers, please, comrade”)

        “struggled” and “attempted escape” – there was no mention in the story of any other supposed “crime” that the victim was guilty or even suspected of. Based solely on the contents of this article, characterizing the victim as a “violent drunk” is just plain stupid.

      2.  It is not the job of the local police officer to give you marriage counseling or anger management tools, the job of the police officer is to maintain the peace.
        we have given the professional police officer tools and training to do their job and expect them to do it in a professional manner.

        The reason Dragonthc that ‘everyone’ hates cops these days is that you want hand holding and only want the laws you agree with enforced. 

      3. So you think police should maintain the peace at the end of a billy club? What part of maintaining the peace requires violence or shooting people in the head with anything? If you look at slogans most police departments specifically say to protect and serve. the serving part is what they are currently ignoring. They are supposed to talk to us and protect us sometimes even from ourselves. Long gone are the days when the local police would bring the kids home for the parents to scold, long gone are the days when they would stop you drunk on the street and offer to call you a cab or give you a ride. That is how police are meant to behave as far as tradition is concerned now its taze first don’t ask questions and if you do we will taze you again

      1.  Or shooting seven year olds to death as happened in Detroit a couple years ago. Or tasing a bed ridden old woman in her hospital room for the offense of “yelling at the police to get out of her room.”

    2. Well, here’s hoping that you get a taste of that “fair game”, Robert. Wrong place, wrong time, sheer random chance – you never know. If you ever wind up on the wrong end of our Gestapo, please don’t go around whining about how unfair it all is.

      Power with out accountability is an absolute recipe for tyranny.

      “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  2. I call BS! The police don’t notice the dart sticking out of the guys head? The guy whose stun gun it was doesn’t retrieve the dart and just cuts the wires to it? They subdue him and then let him leave with that in his head? Then the guy has a headache and can’t feel the dart sticking out of his own head? He doesn’t own a mirror? Sorry, but this is too stupid to believe.

      1. “…escaped police…”

        It doesn’t say that, its says he “ATTEMPTED an escape” and they tased him to subdue him.
        They then released him.”No immediate medical examination was subsequently performed in the patient after the wires were propelled and he was allowed to return home.”

    1. “The guy whose stun gun it was doesn’t retrieve the dart and just cuts the wires to it?”

      Unfortunately, there are people who would literally cut and run and sadly some are cops. Most cops are great people and are a valuable part for the community and I have had the pleasure of working with them, but there is always the bad apples. Fortunately they are the minority.

       I am curious as to what may of been the ongoing effects to the injury, what ways his personality may of been changed by it. 

      Just two cents worth for the middle of the week.

      1. Just checked on of the links above and found this

        “Fortunately, no infection or neurological complication occurred following brain injury.”

      2. I read that one of the effects was that the guy began writing “may have” instead of “may of”.  This is not considered to be a negative effect.  I think we should shoot tasers into people’s brains more often.

      3. Guilty as charged. I must have something against ” ‘ve” Gets me every time.

  3. Huh.  So weapons aren’t actually safe.  Shock and surprise.  There’s a reason why they use the term ‘less lethal’ rather than ‘non lethal’.  If something’s capable of knocking a strong and healthy person unconscious, it can probably kill a weak or sickly person.  That doesn’t mean that using such weapons is a bad idea… far from it.  If there weren’t weapons like tasers capable of knocking people out at range, there’d be more shootings by police.  And a bullet to the brain is probably less survivable then a taser dart.

    1. RTFA.  He was already immobilized.  If the choices are darts or bullets to the head of already captured suspects, then we really need to rethink our whole paramilitary cowboy asset seizing policing operation.

      Tasers and Pepper have their place.  They are to ensure public safety and prevent injuries.  They are not there to enforce the police sense of superiority and ensure 100% compliance with every police edict, constitutional or not.

  4. Nice hit piece but Taser training clearly states many times over that the Taser should never be used to target the head, neck, face, or groin. You should do a little research before you do a hit piece against a tool that has saved lives and prevented injury many times more than it caused injury or death.

    1.  “Taser training clearly states many times over that the Taser should never be used to target the head” And yet, there it is lodged in his brain. So much for training.

      1. You guys mis-read the article. It stated “It certainly seems obvious they shouldn’t be directed at the head”. That implies that Taser users don’t know about the dangers of targeting the head. That is a false implication. Taser training and manuals all state very clearly not to target the head.

  5. I just love how non-lethal weapons no matter what form they take are used as ‘stand-ins’ for their lethal counterparts. Did the cop aim the taser gun at the guy’s head or torso? You see these with the rubber bullets, plastic bullets and sandbags too, cops will aim at the head.

  6. Lets see, whats my option here, raging drunk bull needs to be subdued, lets see, shoot him, no, not good for publicity, hit with club, no too many cell phones cameras, mace, no people dont like being made to cry and suffer orange stains, ok, I know, tase him, no, may hit head so my choice is grab and wrestle… now I’m in the hospital and some drunk hero is out celebrating his accomplishment and repeating the nights activities…ok that the scenario.. select one of the above and see where you go….

  7. He was tazed, but hadn’t done anything to warrant being arrested?  Or was being tazed considered sufficient punishment?

  8. This man is a little ridiculous. I cannot believe the police hit him in the head. They may not have been aiming for his head, but if they weren’t they have a bad aim. The man might have been moving as well when they shot the taser. I believe the police need to be more careful when they shoot a taser granted the man was being crazy and hitting them. But even after the cops shot him in the head, they let him go home. A little careless on their part I would say. And  he is right what is the moral to this story? I guess it is don’t get so drunk that you put yourself in that position to get tased by cops that will shoot you in the head. 

  9. This man is a little ridiculous. I cannot believe the police hit him in the head. They may not have been aiming for his head, but if they weren’t they have a bad aim. The man might have been moving as well when they shot the taser. I believe the police need to be more careful when they shoot a taser granted the man was being crazy and hitting them. But even after the cops shot him in the head, they let him go home. A little careless on their part I would say. And  he is right what is the moral to this story? I guess it is don’t get so drunk that you put yourself in that position to get tased by cops that will shoot you in the head.

  10. Confusing, the US talk up the need for various police brutality, teasers, guns etc. Yet in the UK, they manage perfectly well without any such devices.  I think the problem is the USA is wild and out of control with nut cases suggesting things like “Second Amendment to the United States Constitution,”. The recipe for your very disaster lies right there. Perhaps if your government banned ownership of firearms and the carrying of knifes over 6″ and other deadly weapons as the UK does, you would begin to see a safer and more manageable society.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *