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Medical expert testifies there was ‘no reason’ to give Elijah McClain ketamine

A critical care specialist told a jury on Thursday that in his medical opinion, there was no reason for paramedics to give Elijah McClain ketamine — the powerful sedative that is ultimately blamed for causing his death.

“There was no medical indication for the ketamine when it was given,” said Dr. David Beuther, a pulmonary critical care specialist at National Jewish Health. “That means it did not serve any productive purpose — there was no reason to give it.”Medical expert testifies there was 'no reason' to give Elijah McClain ketamine

Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec injected McClain with the drug and were among five men indicted in 2021 for the 2019 death of McClain. They are the last of the five to go to trial and each is charged with reckless manslaughter and three counts of second-degree assault.

Aurora officers first contacted McClain on Aug. 24, 2019, after a teenage boy called 911 and relayed that he saw McClain wearing a coat and mask and acting “suspicious.” Within seconds, Nathan Woodyard, the first officer to arrive, grabbed McClain. He and officers Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt then took McClain to the ground in a struggle.

During the struggle, Woodyard used a carotid hold on McClain, a maneuver that caused him to lose consciousness briefly. Afterward, McClain was handcuffed and restrained on the ground for more than 10 minutes.

Later that same night, paramedics, Cooper and Cichuniec injected McClain with the sedative ketamine. His heart stopped and he later died.


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