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System failed mentally ill man hit by Taser, N.S. doctor tells fatality inquiry

HALIFAX, N.S. - An emergency room doctor says the system failed a mentally ill man who died in custody 30 hours after he was Tasered by Halifax police.

HALIFAX, N.S. - An emergency room doctor says the system failed a mentally ill man who died in custody 30 hours after he was Tasered by Halifax police.

Dr. Stephen Curry was the first doctor to see Howard Hyde after he had been arrested for a domestic assault and later Tasered during a struggle with police inside the Halifax police station.

Curry, testifying today at an inquiry into Hyde's death, says Hyde had an elevated heart rate and was incoherent when he arrived at the QE2 Health Sciences Centre at about 3 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2007.

The doctor told the inquiry Hyde's heart appeared to be in good shape and he was recovering quickly from his ordeal, but Curry says he gave him an anti-psychotic drug to calm him down and keep him safe and comfortable.

Curry says he saw Hyde for about five or 10 minutes before his shift ended and he assumed the 45-year-old musician with a long history of schizophrenia would eventually receive a psychiatric assessment at the hospital or through the court system.

He agreed that the system failed Hyde because he did not receive an assessment and was not given more anti-psychotic drugs in the 28 hours before he died after struggling with correctional officers at the jail where he was being held.

 
 
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