Electronic gun (Taser) injuries

Ann Emerg Med. 1987 Jan;16(1):73-8. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(87)80292-5.


The Taser is an electrical weapon used for immobilization. Two hundred eighteen patients who were shot by police with a Taser for violent or criminal behavior were compared to 22 similar patients shot by police with .38 Specials. The long-term morbidity rate was significantly different for "tasered" victims (0%) and for those with bullet wounds (50%) (P less than .05). The mortality rate was also significantly different between "tasered" victims (1.4%), and gunshot wound victims (50%) (P less than .05). Possible complications associated with Taser wounds included contusions, abrasions, and lacerations (38%); mild rhabdomyolysis (1%); and testicular torsion (0.5%). Although 48% of "tasered" patients required hospitalization, all but one was for a preexisting injury or toxic or psychiatric problem. We conclude that Tasers are relatively safe when compared to shooting with more conventional weapons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electric Injuries* / complications
  • Electric Injuries* / mortality
  • Electric Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Electric Injuries* / therapy
  • Electroshock*
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Firearms*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality