ALLENTOWN - Lehigh Valley Hospital has used stun guns on unruly patients four times since 2008, prompting an investigation by state and federal agencies, the Allentown Morning Call reported Friday. A state Department of Health report completed in October said the use of stun guns violated regulations and threatened the health and rights of patients, the newspaper said.

"The use of Taser, stun gun, or like weapons against patients is not permitted," the report said.

Each of the four incidents involved violent or unruly patients. Two were stunned while fighting with guards. A third was stunned for using an intravenous pole as a weapon. A fourth, who had received medication to control anxiety and psychosis, became agitated, refused to stay in a room, and was stunned while approaching a guard.

As of Oct. 15, hospital security guards were no longer armed with stun guns. But the hospital said in a statement to the newspaper that it hoped to resume the use of the nonlethal weapons. The hospital said the incidents were "law enforcement" matters and not "related to patient restraint in the normal course of care."