February 5, 2007
Florida’s lethal injection commission on Monday heard additional evidence on the problems with that state’s lethal injection protocol. The AP notes:
A physician who is an expert on vein therapy gave her view today on the botched execution of a prisoner in Florida.Doctor Denise Clark said executioners ignored clear signs something was wrong as they administered drugs to a convicted killer who took twice the normal time to die and had chemical burns in his arms.
Clark testified before a panel reviewing Florida’s lethal injection procedures.
The Orlando physician said the executioners who reported trouble pushing a deadly chemical mix into the veins of Angel Nieves Diaz on December 13th should have known their intravenous lines were not properly inserted.
A medical examiner’s report says Diaz’s execution took 34 minutes — twice as long as usual. The report said it required a rare second dose of lethal chemicals because the needles were incorrectly inserted through his veins and into the flesh in his arms, a medical examiner reported.
“You would know right away. You would see there is a problem,” Clark told the panel Monday. “It shouldn’t be difficult. If it is in the proper place, it shouldn’t require a lot of force….”
“It seemed to be a clearly diagnosable problem,” said panel member Rodney Doss, who is also the director of victim’s service for the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
Prison officials last week told the panel the intravenous lines appeared to be inserted correctly and the execution went normally except for the length of time it took Diaz to die.
But a Department of Corrections review found the four-person execution team deviated from established procedure by continuing the execution after noticing problems with the first injection site. They are supposed to stop and check the site, the report said.