Opinion: Excited delirium: valid clinical diagnosis or medicalized racism? Organized medicine needs to take a stand

The “diagnosis” of excited delirium, a term often used to justify and defend police brutality, disproportionately against Black people, has circulated in the medical canon for more than 25 years. It is time — past time, actually — for organized medicine to denounce its diagnostic validity and its use as a shield to justify excessive police force.

It reemerged most recently on May 25, 2020, when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. During that time, fellow officer Thomas Lane was heard to say, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.”

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Opinion: Excited delirium: valid clinical diagnosis or medicalized racism? Organized medicine needs to take a stand

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