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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2012 Jul-Sep;16(3):407-11. doi: 10.3109/10903127.2011.640767. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Prehospital chemical restraint of a noncommunicative autistic minor by law enforcement.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415, USA.


When responders are dealing with an agitated patient in the field, safety for all involved may sometimes only be accomplished with physical or chemical restraints. While experiences using chemical restraint in the prehospital setting are found in the medical literature, the use of this by law enforcement as a first-response restraint has not previously been described. We report a case of successful law enforcement-administered sedation of a noncommunicative, autistic, and violent minor using intramuscular droperidol and diphenhydramine. Although this case has some unique characteristics that allowed chemical restraint to be given by the law enforcement agency, it calls attention to some specific prehospital issues that need to be addressed when dealing with autistic patients with extreme agitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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