April 16, 2020

Prehospital Chemical Restraint of a Noncommunicative Autistic Minor by Law Enforcement


When responders are dealing with an agitated patient in the field, safety for all involved may sometimes only be accomplished with physical or chemical 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.

Jeffrey D. Ho, Paul C. Nystrom, Darryl V. Calvo, Marc S. Berris, Jeffrey F. Norlin & Joseph E. Clinton(2012) Prehospital Chemical Restraint of a Noncommunicative Autistic Minor by Law Enforcement, Prehospital Emergency Care, 16:3, 407-411, Learn more here.

Submitted by
Dr. Jeffery Ho, MD

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