Taser alone didn't kill Geldart: pathologist
A temporary condition, not an electronic stun gun used by Moncton police, was likely to blame for the death of a psychiatric patient, an inquest heard Wednesday.
Kevin Geldart, 34, who had walked away from the psychiatric unit at the Moncton Hospital, died in the Right Spot bar on May 5th, 2005, after police used a Taser in a bid to subdue him.
Ken Obenson, the pathologist who examined Geldart's body,told the inquest that in his opinion the primary cause of Geldart's death was "excited delirium," a condition in which a mentally ill person is acutely agitated, violent, sweating profuselyand showing an insensitivity to pain.
Geldart showed many of those symptoms, according to previous testimony from four police officers who confronted him at the Right Spot Bar in Moncton. The officers used pepper spray and a Taser, an electronic stun gun, to try to subdue Geldart, who was six-feet-six inches tall, weighed more than 350 lbs., and suffered from asthma.
Obenson said that because an agitated Geldart was wrestling with police, his adrenaline level would have been high.
His potassium level would also have been high, Obsenson said, and that would have protected his heart. However,once restrained, his potassium level would have dropped, Obenson said, and that would have lead to arrthymia, an upset in the heart's normal rhythm.
Obenson said the Taser, pepper spray and Geldart's obesity might have been contributing factors in his death. But even if those factors had not been present, he said, the outcome still would have likely been death.
However, if the condition of excited delirium were removed, and every other factor left in place, Obenson said, Geldart likely wouldn't have died.