State health department reopens ketamine investigation into Elijah McClain death

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Courtesy: FOX31 KDVR

DENVER (KDVR) – The Colorado Department of Health and Environment opened a new investigation into the administration of ketamine prior to Elijah McClain’s death, according to a spokesperson for CDPHE.

“The department received numerous complaints, beginning on June 24, 2020, that provided additional information regarding a ketamine administration in August 2019. The department launched a complaint investigation which is currently ongoing,” said Peter Myers, a spokesperson for the Health Facility Education and Quality branch of CDPHE.

On June 18, 2020, CDPHE told the FOX31 Problem Solvers that McClain’s case had already been reviewed and there would “not be any additional investigation.”

“It was identified in the annual Ketamine data review due to the complications from administration,” Myers said on June 18, 2020.  “The case was reviewed, but there were no findings that would support an action against the provider’s certificate. We did look at the information that you forwarded, but there was no additional information from the initial review. There will not be any additional investigation.”

McClain died after a paramedic attempted to sedate him with 500 mg dose of ketamine and after McClain’s involvement in a rough altercation with Aurora police. A coroner could not rule out an unexpected reaction to the drug.  The coroner also said the officer’s actions, performing a carotid hold on McClain, could have contributed to his death.

In February, the FOX31 Problem Solvers exclusively revealed that an ambulance medic believed and reported that McClain received too much of the drug.

Ketamine is not FDA approved for the sedation of extremely agitated patients who experience a condition called excited delirium, but medical directors at agencies around the state can apply for a state waiver from the health department to use it for that purpose.

The state has approved 106 waivers for ketamine for excited delirium, according to CDPHE.

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