In a news release this morning, Neurologists from the Massachusetts General Hospital are speaking out against neck restraints used by police officers.
Some law enforcement agencies have continued to teach that a certain kind of restraints are so safe that it's even advisable but these statements have no scientific or medical basis, according to the authors.
A recent death in which a Black man, George Floyd, died of excessive police force has triggered the national conversation of racial injustice in America.
Floyd died while being detained in May 2020 following the eight minutes of knee-pushing of a police officer in his neck, has helped spur a national racial injustification conversation in the United States. Floyd's death made headlines, just as Eric Garner did in 2014 after police put him into a clutch.
Saadi was also upset by the use of neck restraints by police departments in the United States with the co-authors Jillian M. Berkman, MD, and Joseph A. Rosenthal, MD, PhD, who found some prohibiting chokeholds and other neck restraints, but others taught techniques to subduce allegedly uncooperative people at encounters.
"As a neurologist, I know that there is never a scenario where stopping the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain is medically appropriate, says Saadi. What shocked me most was that much of the literature supporting these techniques hides behind medical language, but lacks a real understanding of the pathophysiology of the significant harm they cause to an individual. As neurologists, we are taught that 'time is brain,' because there's such a rapid loss of human nervous tissue when the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain is reduced or stopped."
"Carotid compression" can happen at a strength of 6 kilograms, or around an average home cat's weight. Saadi and her colleagues explain in their opinion how carotid compression can happen during a police neckhold, leading to stroke, epilepsy and even death.
They include the development of a registry to report on the use of neck restraints by law enforcement, including how much the procedure is used and whether it leads to death or injury.
"It's in the public's best interest to have this data" says Saadi. She believes that growing understanding of the consequences of neck constraints could help to curtail its use. In the end, Saadi claims, neck restriction in politics is not medically acceptable.