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Cape Breton Post - - ATLANTIC -

HAL­I­FAX (CP) — An ex­pert says there were “many red flags” warn­ing that Howard Hyde was suf­fer­ing from ex­cited delir­ium in the hours be­fore he died in a jail cell.

Chris­tine Hall, an emer­gency room doc­tor based in Van­cou­ver, tes­ti­fied Mon­day at an in­quiry into Hyde’s Taser­ing and sub­se­quent death 30 hours later in­side a pro­vin­cial jail in the Hal­i­fax area in Novem­ber 2007.

Hall, a re­searcher with the Cana­dian Po­lice Re­search Cen­tre, says the “con­stant and repet­i­tive na­ture” of Hyde’s be­hav­iour was one strong clue that the di­ag­nosed para­noid schizophrenic was suf­fer­ing from a con­di­tion known as ex­cited delir­ium.

In Hyde’s case, sur­veil­lance video­tapes show him con­stantly pac­ing in his cell for hours on end in an un­chang­ing pat­tern.

Hall says this be­hav­iour sug­gests Hyde was in a highly ag­i­tated state — a clear sig­nal that he was suf­fer­ing from ex­cited delir­ium.

Af­ter Hyde’s death a med­i­cal ex­am­iner con­cluded that the cause of death was ex­cited delir­ium, a some­times fa­tal con­di­tion that is also marked by in­co­her­ence, ex­traor­di­nary strength, pro­fuse sweat­ing and sud­denly in­tense and vi­o­lent be­hav­iour.

Hyde, a 45-year-old mu­si­cian, had a long his­tory of para­noid schizophre­nia, a con­di­tion that can be an un­der­ly­ing cause of ex­cited delir­ium.

Last year, the in­quiry was told that Hal­i­fax po­lice are train­ing of­fi­cers to bet­ter defuse volatile sit­u­a­tions with the men­tally ill be­fore hav­ing to re­sort to the use of a Taser.

The of­fi­cer re­spon­si­ble for train­ing po­lice on the use of force said last year that he ex­pects new train­ing guide­lines will em­pha­size that peo­ple dis­play­ing signs of ex­cited delir­ium should be treated as med­i­cal emer­gen­cies in need of im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion.

Hyde was ar­rested fol­low­ing a com­plaint of do­mes­tic as­sault. He was taken to po­lice head­quar­ters, where he was Tasered mul­ti­ple times af­ter be­com­ing ag­i­tated as of­fi­cers tried to fin­ger­print him. He died the fol­low­ing day at the cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity.

The in­quiry is looking at how po­lice, health and cor­rec­tions of­fi­cials treated Hyde, who was off his med­i­ca­tions and had been act­ing er­rat­i­cally lead­ing up to his death.

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