On April 12th and 13th 2011, Tom and Rick both representing their departments (Seattle PD and Washington State Patrol respectively) collaborated with the NIJ (National Institutes of Justice) and the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University to host a workshop on the phenomena referred to as Excited Delirium Syndrome (ExDS). Although first recognized in 1849, ExDS has historically been a controversial condition as subjects with this syndrome often die during struggles with police.
The focus of the workshop was to create dialog on ExDS between the law enforcement, medical, psychiatric, and research communities. Most of the world’s leading researchers on the subject were in attendance, several of which recently published an article in the Journal of Emergency Medicine further validating the condition.
Tom and medics from the Seattle Fire Department gave a presentation that highlighted 73 ExDS cases in the Seattle area where two saves occurred; thanks to a prompt and thorough response. The workshop group used that presentation to emphasize efforts on the education of the first responder to better address this syndrome and increase survival rate of ExDS patients.
The consensus of the workshop attendees was to simplify the process for the first responder into four steps:
Identify: Observe the signs and behaviors related to this syndrome for early medical intervention. Handle primarily as a medical condition.
Control: Control and/or restrain subject as soon as possible to decrease problems related to a prolonged struggle.
Sedate: Apply sedation in the field as soon as possible to help stop/reverse the process.
Transport: Take to hospital as soon as possible for medical treatment.
The field study in Seattle promises to turn the tide in how these cases are addressed. The education, identification, treatment, and success in these ExDS cases is ongoing and will be the subject of a future publication. Tom will present this material in May at the International Law Enforcement Forum (ILEF) in Vancouver, BC.