TASER BARB REMOVAL
Purpose: Law enforcement personnel may request a medical assessment after TASER deployment, and/or to have EMS personnel remove TASER barbs lodged in someone’s skin. All EMS providers in the BioTel system may utilize this procedure. Be aware that TASER deployment may result in falls that can produce secondary injuries. They do not, however, normally produce altered mental status. The patient may require additional restraint as defined in the RESTRAINT OF PATIENT Policy.
Patient Assessment Following TASER Deployment:
- Confirm that the officer deactivated the TASER and disconnected the barb cartridge from the device.
- Obtain vital signs as soon as possible. Violent and combative behavior may be caused by intoxication, psychosis, hypoxia, hypoglycemia, head injury, overdose or CNS infection. Obtain pulse oximetry, capnography, lead II ECG, and POC glucose analysis as soon as possible. Treat EXCITED DELIRIUM, TRAUMA or SEIZURES according to the specific guidelines.
- Evaluate the anatomical location of the barb’s puncture zone(s). High-risk/sensitive zones will require transport to a medical facility for removal. Do not attempt to remove the barb(s) if they are lodged in the:
- Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, face, or neck
- Hands, feet, or joints
- Utilize appropriate PPE (gloves.) Inform all caregivers of the intent to remove the contaminated sharp.
- Remove one barb at a time. Stabilize the skin surrounding the TASER barb. Firmly grasp the barb and, with one smooth, firm jerk, remove the barb from patient’s skin.
- Visually examine the barb tip to ensure that it is intact. If any part of the barb remains embedded in the patient, transport the patient to the closest appropriate medical facility for removal.
- Observe precautions to avoid accidental needle sticks during barb removal.
- Place the barb in an appropriate container and return it to the law enforcement officer for evidence.
- Provide wound care by cleansing the site with antiseptic and covering with an adhesive bandage.
- Inform the patient of basic wound care and the need to seek additional care in the event that signs of infection occur (redness-pain-drainage-swelling-fever.) The patient will need a tetanus immunization, if he or she has not received one within the previous 5 years.
- Transport to the closest appropriate hospital any patient meeting any of the following criteria:
- Barb(s) is/are lodged in any of the above-listed sensitive areas;
- Patient has a previous cardiac history;
- Patient appears intoxicated;
- Patient is non-compliant with direct instructions;
- Patient meets criteria for other BioTel Treatment Guidelines requiring transport (e.g. chest pain, altered mental status, electrical injury, age older than 65 years, etc.).
- Complete medical documentation is required, whether or not EMS transports the patient.