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Conducted Electrical Weapons or Stun Guns: A Review of 46 Cases Examined in Casualty

Becour, Bertrand MD

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology: June 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 142–146
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31828873d6
Original Articles

Abstract: Low-lethality weapons are intended to neutralize a person with maximum security and with minimal risk of injury or death to the user of the weapon, the person arrested, and the witnesses. Under the same circumstances, the use of a firearm is causing mortality of 50%. Marketed since 1974, the Taser X26 is currently staffing services in the French police and gendarmerie. The Taser device has 3 damaging mechanisms: the direct effect of electric current on the tissues, the conversion of electrical energy into thermal energy, and the injuries caused by the general muscle contraction and resulting fall. The study aimed to analyze the specificities of the conducted electrical weapon–related injuries treated in a emergency department on a series of 46 cases. The study population was predominantly middle-aged men. The circumstances of use of the Taser X26 were most often related to an arrest. The frequency of consultation after a shot by Taser X26 was stable. The management is essentially an outpatient because of frequent and benign lesions. The impacts of electrical impulse mainly affect the chest and abdomen. This distribution of impact zones is inhomogeneous, depending on the circumstances of use.

From the Hôtel-Dieu/Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France.

Manuscript received September 11, 2012; accepted December 5, 2012.

The author reports no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Bertrand Becour, MD, Hôtel-Dieu/Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, 1, place du Parvis Notre-Dame, 75004 Paris, France. E-mail: bertrand.becour@htd.aphp.fr.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.