February 8, 2007 (4 articles)
Doctor's Oath Kills Death Penalty in North Carolina
Governor Easley and the Council of State Place Death Penalty on Indefinite
By Max O' Well, Associated Content
Raleigh News & Observer staff writer Andrea Weigl announced on the front
page that North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and his Council of State have
decided that the requirement that a doctor participate in executions to
assure that prisoners do not needlessly suffer create a problem that the
state legislature needs to address.
The controversy over executions came when the North Carolina Medical Board
ruled that it doctors cannot participate in executions. At the same time the
legislation defining how executions are to be performed in North Carolina
requires a doctor's presence.
The Council of State which is made up the nine senior elected state
executives voted six to three for what is in effect a moratorium on
executions until the legislature acts.
The vote was bipartisan with three republicans and three democrats voting
for the moratorium; and two democrats and one republican voting for
The controversy began in earnest in 2006 when a federal judge allowed an
execution to go forward so long as a doctor was tracking an inmate's
consciousness on a monitor.
The North Carolina Medical Board stepped in forbidding doctors to anything
more than just being present at an execution.
The medical board's decision provided ammunition for defense lawyers to go
to court for their clients as the state could not, without a doctor
monitoring the execution, guarantee that their client would be fully sedated
during the execution.
Prison officials tried to get around the issue by setting up a policy
whereby the monitoring would be done by a nurse. A doctor would be present
in case of a medical emergency.
This solution, the inmates attorneys pointed out was not sensible. The
doctor's oath would mean that if the inmate began to die the doctor would
have to intervene. But intervened the inmate would not be executed. If the
doctor didn't intervene then the doctor would be guilty of unethical medical
The article provides details on how the majority of the council followed the
Governor's lead in their decisions to halt the executions.
Until the North Carolina legislature decides to bring forward new
legislation, North Carolina's execution policy is dead, killed by North
Source for this story: Raleigh News & Observer Article written by staff
writer Andrea Weigl Feb 07, 2007
Review of Department of Corrections website (NCDOC)
Review of National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty website (NCADP)
Source : Associated Content