July 29, 2021

Aurora bans emergency responders’ use of ketamine until Elijah McClain investigation complete

Aurora City Council on Monday banned the city’s emergency responders from using ketamine until an independent investigation into the death of Elijah McClain is complete.

The council voted unanimously to temporarily stop paramedics’ use of the powerful sedative, which Aurora paramedics injected into McClain after he was violently detained by police last year.

“I think it makes sense to take a pause,” Councilman Curtis Gardner, who sponsored the resolution, said.

Questions about how the drug contributed to McClain’s death remain unanswered because the Adams County Coroner’s Office could not determine the cause or manner of his death. The autopsy stated the level of ketamine in McClain’s blood was at a “therapeutic level,” despite paramedics overestimating his weight, but the coroner did not rule out an unexpected side effect of the drug as a contributor to his death.

The temporary ban in Aurora won’t go into effect until Aurora Fire Rescue has time to rewrite its protocols and train its staff on those changes, Gardner said. The ban will stay in play for 30 days after the investigation led by an outside attorney is complete.


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