“Excited delirium”: can the world lose this controversial term, which is accused of covering up deaths in police custody?

Medical guidance on the term “excited delirium” is being updated, indicating a shift away from its use. The term gained attention after being used in relation to the death of George Floyd in police custody. Originally coined in the 1980s to explain unexplained deaths of black women, subsequent studies have found no medical basis for its use. Despite this, it has been cited as a cause of death in cases of police restraint. Recent bans on the term in Colorado and California suggest a changing attitude towards its validity. The debate continues on whether “excited delirium” is ever an appropriate term to use.

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