All right, for some reason I keep seeing this more and more often both on TV and in fanfic, so I’m gonna address it here before my head explodes.
PSA: You can’t inject a sedative into someone’s neck while they’re struggling, unless you’re willing to kill them.
Let me just repeat that. YOU CAN’T INJECT A SEDATIVE INTO SOMEONE’S NECK WHILE THEY’RE STRUGGLING, UNLESS YOU’RE WILLING TO KILL THEM.
You know the scene: the prisoner just got loose. Someone comes up with a giant syringe and stabs it right into their neck. They collapse to the floor, safely sedated.
IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.
See the big blue vein up there? That’s the jugular vein, the one you’re presumably aiming for if you want to inject someone. See the big red vein right beside it, the one with the arrow pointing to it? That’s the carotid artery. Did you notice how it’s RIGHT BESIDE the jugular vein? If you hit that one by accident, the drug will go straight and undiluted to the brain, causing seizures or worse. Even worse, many sedatives cause arterial spasms or tissue destruction, which is going to cut off a significant portion of the blood flow to the brain and probably cause a stroke.
It’s possible to inject directly into the jugular vein, but you need patience, a lot of care, either an ultrasound or a lot of experience to find the right vein, the kind of setting where you can be very certain that no one’s going to jostle your hand, and ideally a blood gas analyser, to make really really sure you’ve got your cannula in the right vein before injecting anything.
Now, where CAN you safely inject someone in a crisis? The deltoid muscle’s a pretty safe bet. Ass and thigh muscles work too, in a pinch, although there’s still some small risk of catching an artery and causing hideous damage by accident. Seriously, if your goal isn’t to kill or severely injure the prisoner, you’d be hard-pressed to find any injection site on the body that would be worse than the neck.
NECK INJECTION: JUST SAY NO.
[image credit: Rob Swatski]