Author Topic: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator  (Read 4873 times)

Offline freerangechiken

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Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« on: November 17, 2011, 05:02:16 PM »
I was enduring a health and safety audit at work earlier this week when the auditor said that we should start closing our gate at the entrance to keep out the undesirables in the neighborhood. He then mentioned that he had submitted forms to purchase defibrillators for all of the field offices within the company. He said that the cost may prohibit the process and that the CPR training may have to be our only option for the next year or two.

Since I try to be prepared for every possible situation, I said “Why can't we all have a stun gun to carry for protection and use it as a defibrillator if needed.” Of course he didn't think it was a good idea (no weapons permitted on company property) but I could tell by the look on the faces of others in the room that they made the connection.

My question is this; would a stun gun work for such a purpose? And, would you use one if it meant you could possibly save the life of someone that was likely going to die without a defibrillator to restart their heart?

Looking forward to your comments.
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Offline cheryl1

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, 05:15:15 PM »
Well, they already have no pulse so you might as well try it. It's not like you can kill someone who is already dead. You would probably need a metal plate under their back or the charge would just dissapate over the skin instead of hitting the heart.
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Offline USMCAllen

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2011, 05:27:11 PM »
From what I understand, a defibrillator is not used when someone loses a pulse or "flat lines" as seen in the movies, at that point chest compressions should be used. A defibrillator should be used on certain types of irregular and dangerous cardiac rhythms.
 Please someone correct me of I'm wrong but I really think that's a bad idea. An AED is automated to know when "defribrillation is needed."

Online endurance

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2011, 05:37:29 PM »
I just finished my annual AED/CPR training on Wednesday this week and I'd say it wouldn't work.  First off, an AED is designed to look at the heart's rhythm, evaluate it, and deliver a shock if it's appropriate and at the right time in the rhythm.  As Allen mentioned, you don't shock a flat line. 

Also, a taser doesn't give one jolt, it's shocks repeatedly for several seconds.  While Cheryl's right, you're likely starting from dead, it's unlikely you're going to end up with anything any better than dead in the end.  That said, if I was alone in the wilderness and just watched a friend get hit by lighting and they're not breathing and there's no pulse, I'd at least try it since it's the only chance they'd have (I'd also probably try to use my epi-pen, although there's nearly no chance the needle would be long enough to reach the heart muscle).

Contact the American Red Cross.  They put one in our office for a very minimal cost to because they're trying to get more of them out there. 
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Offline Windage and Elevation

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2011, 05:43:27 PM »
I have no intimate knowledge of types of energy, but it occurs to me that an AED sends a biphasic pulse that is carefully measured by resistance of the body in a location that is selected to cross a path that is mandated by the other pad. A stun gun is trying (well) to send a disruptive varying charge pulse that causes all muscle groups to overload and quiver uncontrollably. I would describe the muscle activity as a 'fibrillation', which is the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish with the AED, which is to establish a normal, repetitive contraction being controlled by the hearts' electrical system. Just an old street medics' opinion, though, and I can be wrong - often....

Bill

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2011, 07:30:38 PM »
A shock will only help in the event of fibrillation, not in a flatlined situation. However, without an AED all you will know is that they don't have a pulse. If you live where I do and EMS is >15 minutes out on a good day, go ahead and shock 'em. While you're at it, throw in a few punches to the chest, a sternal rub, and good old-fashioned prayer. It's already as bad as it can get. If help is coming though, just stick with compressions.
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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2011, 07:48:38 PM »
A shock will only help in the event of fibrillation, not in a flatlined situation. However, without an AED all you will know is that they don't have a pulse. If you live where I do and EMS is >15 minutes out on a good day, go ahead and shock 'em. While you're at it, throw in a few punches to the chest, a sternal rub, and good old-fashioned prayer. It's already as bad as it can get. If help is coming though, just stick with compressions.
Yep, but if the OP works in a city the you are not going to be covered by the Good Samaritan laws when you try to explain why you tazed the sole breadwinner for the family when he was having a heart attack.  The liability of using a weapon as a lifesaving tool isn't explainable under the situation the OP described.
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Offline M14fan

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2011, 08:48:43 PM »
No. A stun gun will not work as a defibrillator.
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Offline Doc K

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2011, 01:50:24 AM »

From what I could find online... very limited at that... it does not appear that this would work.  However, I can find little scientific explanation to support that it would not work, just references that this question was asked to cardiologists who said "no".

I don't think it has to do with monophasic or biphasic issues, as AEDs/Defribrillators come in both types.

I think it may have more to do with Joules and probably placement.

With that said... if I was in a situation where I had NO OTHER alternative, no help on the way (where I could do high quality CPR for extended times until they arrived), and no other power source, then I would consider trying it... if a person is going to die, I would try about anything I could that at least had a semblance of logic to it.

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Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 12:56:36 PM »
In addition to what everyone else has said, consider this. With a stun gun you are applying a shock (or series of shocks) to a single point on the body. AEDs work by transmitting a shock through the body from the upper right front shoulder through the heart to the other pad on the lower left side.
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Offline ccanupp

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2011, 09:36:43 PM »
No a taser will not work as a defibrillator. When shocking a person that is in a shockable rhythm, an AED will deliver a minimal 200 joules to a maximum of 360 joules. A taser when used is less than 1 joule of energy. Most of the time when you hear people dying from taser usage, it is because they fall and hit there head or have some underlying medical condition.

Offline M14fan

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 07:32:07 PM »
You are absolutely correct Doc and ccanupp. Electricity delivers energy in a number of ways. There is current (amperes), Voltage, Wattage, and Joules. Joules are a measurement of watts over time (kind of like lbs/ft for mechanical energy). Generally speaking, it takes around 200 joules to effectively defibrillate an average sized human. Stun guns, because they have no current only voltage, do not produce watts and therefore no joules. Stun guns were designed to be incapable of stopping the heart. Defibrillators were designed to stop the heart. Hope this clears it up a bit more.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 10:28:43 PM by M14fan »
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Offline Doc K

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2011, 05:00:35 AM »
Fantastic explanation M14! 

+1

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Offline M14fan

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Re: Stun Gun for use as a defibrillator
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2011, 06:52:37 AM »
Thanks Doc.
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