By Mike Mangas
The numbers are shocking.
A physician who heads up a team that does forensic examinations says strangulation in the Northstate is common.
Dr. Sean Dugan addressed an auditorium of primarily medical providers at Mercy Medical Center in Redding.
He heads up the Shasta Community Forensic Care Team and a clinic that opened less than six months ago at One Safe Place.
Dr. Dugan said, “We opened up the clinic back in May of 2019. And since then we’ve had 55 exams. Just in the last 14 days alone, I’ve done 7 exams. And so, it’s more common than people realize and as more people are aware of it, we’re seeing more and more exams. And it’s a serious life-threatening injury.”
To be clear, strangulation does not mean someone was killed. It means an attempt was made to cut off blood circulation to the brain.
Dr. Dugan says most of his strangulation cases are not fatal but can do short and long-term physical damage to the victim.
“It only takes 6.8 seconds to lose consciousness if you have complete occlusion of all the blood vessels to the head. Compare that to your arm or your leg, for example, you can put a tourniquet on your arm or leg for up to 2 hours and not have neurovascular damage. With the neck, after 6.8 seconds brain cells start to die.” Continued Dr. Dugan
A person being strangled can die in about two minutes.
But there’s hope; he introduced a recent plan involving multiple non-profits and governmental agencies all under one umbrella, to identify, treat, and help to heal victims of trauma from birth to death.
A couple of other sobering statistics: surviving victims of strangulation are 750% more likely to be murdered. And half the shooters of law enforcement officers have a record of strangulation assault.
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