The Greensboro City Council has heard hours of testimony about the death of Marcus Deon Smith on Sept. 8, 2018, but none of the speakers have talked about Bells Mania more commonly called excited delirium.
The Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) has the description of an event very similar to the events in Greensboro on Sept. 8, one major difference is that in the JEMS example the police use Tasers to subdue the man who is violent but in both instances a man who is out of control is eventually restrained by the police and dies shortly after being place in restraints.
The definition of excited delirium in the JEMS article is “A condition that manifests as a combination of delirium, psychomotor agitation, anxiety, hallucinations, speech disturbances, disorientation, violent and bizarre behavior, insensitivity to pain, elevated body temperature and superhuman strength.”
In the police body camera videos released by the Greensboro Police Department Smith exhibits many of those symptoms. He isn’t violent, but he does try to break out the windows of the police car when he is placed inside.
According to the JEMS article, “In particular, excited delirium patients will, for no known reason, strike at objects made of glass.”
The JEMS article states that autopsies of people who died from excited delirium, “consistently revealed the presence of stimulant drugs and alcohol in the blood.” Smith had both cocaine and alcohol as well as other drugs in his system according to the autopsy report which would be consistent with patients who died from excited delirium.
The JEMS article states, “This scenario plays out almost daily in cities across the nation. Law enforcement is called to investigate a crazed individual who may have committed a crime. A prolonged struggle ensues – with or without a conducted energy device (CED), also known as Taser, being deployed. The patient suffers a cardio-respiratory arrest and dies.”
Except that the Greensboro Police didn’t use Tasers on Smith, it is a fairly accurate description of what happened and if it is accurate and what Smith died from was excited delirium, according to the JEMS article preventing his death would have been difficult.