Neurologists at a top US hospital have sounded the alarm in an effort to end deadly neck restraints in New Jersey and other US states. Chokeholds and strangleholds have led to the high-profile deaths of several suspects in police custody. In these maneuvers, life-sustaining blood flow to the brain is interrupted. The irreparable damage that a chokehold can cause led President Trump to ban it altogether when the officer’s safety is not in jeopardy.
“I can’t breathe”
This mantra became a rallying cry after a very public chokehold led to the death of a suspect. He was being restrained by an officer and continued to state these words. Since that time, there have been other high-profile public executions at the hands of police, literally speaking.
Both restraints negatively impact the major arteries that carry blood to the brain. This interruption of blood flow can lead to other major health complications that impact the heart, lungs and brain. Furthermore, secondary health issues like PTSD can impact both a surviving victim and his family.
“Time is brain”
The scientific perspective these neurologists offered provide a very important viewpoint in the push to end chokeholds and strangleholds. During a neck restraint, seconds matter. The neurology mantra “time is brain” holds that every second that the brain is starved of blood could contribute to life-altering bodily harm. One of the neurologists advocating for change states: “It’s important to see these issues through the lens of science because it provides facts. We are writing this as physicians …trying to just break it down to the science of what’s actually happening….It’s about making sure that we’re not killing people for stealing cigarettes—because that’s not worth someone’s life.”
These medical professionals believe that a community from various backgrounds should make concerted efforts to end neck restraints. As an alternative, they request that de-escalation tactics be employed.