Med­i­cal ex­perts: Floyd’s speech didn’t mean he could breathe

The Maui News - - Nation And World -

MINNEAPOLI­S — As George Floyd re­peat­edly pleaded “I can’t breathe” to po­lice of­fi­cers hold­ing him down on a Minneapoli­s street cor­ner, some of the of­fi­cers re­sponded by point­ing out he was able to speak. One told Floyd it takes “a lot of oxy­gen” to talk, while an­other told an­gry by­standers that Floyd was “talk­ing, so he can breathe.”

That re­ac­tion — seen in po­lice re­straint deaths around the coun­try — is dan­ger­ously wrong, med­i­cal ex­perts say. While it would be right to be­lieve a per­son who can’t talk also can­not breathe, the re­verse is not true — speak­ing does not im­ply that some­one is get­ting enough air to sur­vive.

“The abil­ity to speak does not mean the pa­tient is with­out dan­ger,” said Dr. Mariell Jes­sup, chief science and med­i­cal of­fi­cer of the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion.

“To speak, you only have to move air through the up­per air­ways and the vo­cal cords, a very small amount,” and that does not mean that enough air is get­ting down into the lungs where it can sup­ply the rest of the body with oxy­gen, said Dr. Gary Weissman, a lung spe­cial­ist at the Univer­sity of Pennsylvan­ia.

The false per­cep­tion that some­one who can speak can also take in enough air is not part of any known po­lice train­ing cur­ricu­lum or prac­tices, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts on po­lice train­ing and use of force.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.