Dangerous medical condition focus of new police protocol - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Dangerous medical condition focus of new police protocol

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SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) -

(11/13/12) - Police officers around Saginaw County are now on the same page when it comes to dealing with a rare, but sometimes deadly medical situation.

The condition is known by two names, 'Excited Delirium', or 'Acute Uncontrolled Agitation'.

Police and medical professionals say a person suffering from the syndrome can be hard to deal with.

"The person is just essentially out of control. They're beyond the point of reasoning," explained Dr. Noel Wagner, the medical director with the Saginaw Valley Medical Control Authority.

"They often exhibit superhuman strength," adds Frankenmuth Police Chief Don Mawer. He is also the president of the Saginaw County Police Chiefs' Association.

"These are the patients that can take six, eight, 10 police officers to try and get under control," Wagner said.

People suffering from the syndrome may have used some type of stimulant drug, have psychological problems or may be under the influence of alcohol.

In 2009, a high profile Mid-Michigan death was linked to 'Excited Delirium'. Bay City teen Brett Elder had been drinking, was fighting with people, and was then Tasered by police. His case brought attention to the condition.

Now, it's in the headlines again. "Saginaw County law enforcement, police chiefs, have gotten together and decided to take a proactive stance on this and develop a protocol," Wagner said.

That countywide protocol will be a team effort between police and paramedics. "Where this is going to differ from in the past, is that EMS is going to be much more closely involved with this process so that law enforcement can transition from a police action into medical intervention as quickly as possible," Wagner said.

Mawer believes his group is one of the first in the state to lay out ground rules for dealing with the medical condition. He hopes others will follow. "We owe it to not only the community, we owe it to this person if it's a medical crisis, to get them the care they need."

The new protocol will be fully implemented in December, once every department is trained.

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