Thank you Dr Yaes for a well thought out posting.
The only two (specious) arguments to support the death penalty, are seriously flawed;' one physician equates a condemned prisoner to someone in the terminal state, and he, the physician makes dying easier. I have heard this argument from many physicians who do not accept the major flaw in their reasoning--- the condemned is not terminal, but in most cases a live vibrant human being.
The other argumenmt is that if the executioner botches the job, and has trouble getting a vein, he is there to assist. This makes the doctor an accomplice in cold blooded deliberate premeditated murder. No words can disguise this fact.
In Florida, the state recognizes that it is against the mission of medicine to kill, and hides his identity. If it was such a moral act, there would be no need to hide his identity, Hollywood style.
When medically untrained personnel do a medical act -- insertion of an intra venous line, mistakes are bound to happen; the vein may be infiltrated, be too small to support the bolus injected, the catheter may pop out, the wrong dose given, and a host of other breaks of medical procedure. To allow a non trained person to do a cut down is pure torture -- see statement of Bennie Demps, executed in Florida a few years ago.
The states using this form of murder have forced themselves into a catch-22--- only a physician, laboratorian or nurse must do injections, and medical ethics forbid such performance.
The only conceivable way to kill someone immediately and painlessly is to sit them on a small atom bomb; this would kill the inmate, the executioner, the warden, the witnesses and probably all people within a 100 yard radius. This, of course is unacceptable. By designing a method to kill, the state has backed itself into a corner, and cannot humanely get out.
Even if, by some way, a painless way to murder is found, it is the wait to be killed that is the torture that won't go away. Placed in a bathroom able to touch both walls with the arms outstretched, and with your toilet right next to your bed, seeing three walls of concrete, and deprived human comminication, should drive a large minority of those completely mad, and the law does not allow executing the crazy (Ford v Florida). SO if followed, half of the folk on the row cannot be executed.
Last week, the North Carolina Medical Board gave a position paper that a physician can only be witness to an execution as a silent observer--hands in pocket-- mouth shut. This forces the issue, because the law states that an anesthesiologist must monitor an electroencephalogra
G M Larkin MD FABFM FACFE
A society is judged in history by the way it treats their worst of the worst. I rest my case