Gassing: A letter from the experts.
Date: Thursday, November 09 @ 13:12:47 EST
Topic: Motorhome Security


This article was drawn to our attention from the Out&About forums by Don Madge:

It's a response to a letter from Mr. Brian Kirby of O&A forums addressed to the Royal College of Anaethetists.

"Since this debate rattles on from time to time, with much deliberation over how and what, I thought I'd try to get an expert view on the feasibility of using narcotic gases to knock out the occupants of motorhomes/caravans.

Since they do this all the time, so to speak, I thought I'd ask the Royal College of Anaesthetists. Somewhat to my surprise, they provided the following reply. Interesting isn't it? Sleep tight folks!

Dear Mr Kirby,

Thank you for your enquiry. I would like to inform you that you are not the first enquirer with this question. Professor Hatch, our Clinical Advisor, has given the following previous comments:

"I can give you a categorical assurance that it would not be possible to render someone unconscious with ether without their knowledge, even if they were sleeping at the time. Ether is an extremely pungent agent and a relatively weak anaesthetic by modern standards and has a very irritant affect of the air passages, causing coughing and sometimes vomiting. It takes some time to reach unconsciousness, even if given by direct application to the face on a rag, and the concentration needed by some sort of spray into a room would be enormous. The smell hangs around for days and would be obvious to anyone the next day.

There are much more powerful agents around now, some of which are almost odourless. However, these would be unlikely to be able to achieve the effect you describe, and the cost would be huge enough to deter any thief unless he was after the crown jewels. The only practicable agent is probably the one used by the Russians in the Moscow siege - I advised the BBC on their programme about this. The general feeling is that they used an agent which is not available outside the KGB!

Finally, unsupervised anaesthesia, which is what we are really talking about is very dangerous. In the Moscow siege about 20% of victims died from asphyxia, because their airways were unprotected. If the reports you talk about are true I would have expected a significant number of deaths or cases of serious brain damage to have been reported."

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Regards,

Ms Shirani Nadarajah
General Administrator

Professional Standards Directorate
The Royal College of Anaesthetists"







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