30 November 2007

Why Not Call it Disgusting Delirium

Does anyone else see something fundamentally wrong about this?
Taser International and another company closely linked to the manufacturer have paid the way for Ontario's deputy chief coroner to lecture at their conferences on the phenomenon of "excited delirium," a medically unrecognized term that the company often cites as a reason people die after being tasered.
Of course the man in question has demonstrated tremendously good judgement relative to the public good in the past: "at an inquiry in Ontario, [Dr. Cairns] admitted to shielding disgraced pathologist Charles Smith."

Participating in a symposium that seeks to create a convenient medical excuse for the police's excessive use of force in inappropriate circumstances is morally and ethically wrong in my book. Dr. Cairns' participation in such a cynical enterprise should disqualify him from giving any future testimony or opinions with regard to Taser-related deaths. Talk about conflating private business interests with the public good. (And Dr. Cairns: Since when is accepting an expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas from a company against whose product you might be called to testify not a conflict of interest? What the heck is going on in the coroner's office?)

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