The irony of all this debate in North Carolina is that a doctor monitoring "vital functions" will see a heart speed up and die, and a brain that flip flops, going into a dying mode due to oxygen deprivation, a recognized pattern. Neither the EKG or the EEG can determine that a given inmate just shows a "dying pattern" or has pain. It is pure Hollywood, and a prop to sanitize the execution.
The whole attempt to medicalize the murder is to make it more acceptable to those watching, with no consideration of the "cold meat" on the medical gurney or operating table. Even the terminology used is medical; we "put down" or "put to sleep" the inmate, when in fact we butcher him/her. There is no "humane" way to murder another human being. Hitler originally chose to use carbon monoxide gas for vernichtungsaktion because Dr Karl Brandt said it would enable the victim to "fall asleep". Brandt, a gifted neurosurgeon took a wrong turn, and became one of the leaders of the Nazi euthanasia program-T4. The doctors involved played with many drugs, including scopolamine and morphine, but couldn't come up with a proper solution. The sad part is that a gifted doctor went the wrong way, inverted killing and healing was hanged admitting no wrongdoing.
Murder and humane is an oxymoron; there is no humane murder, and that is what the executioner is doing. It is a delusion to believe otherwise. Induced death never comes easily. The only possible way to kill humanely and instantly is to sit the condemned on a small atom bomb; the problem is that the warden, the executioner and the witnesses will also die, as well as all of death row. Maybe a blockbuster will do as well. There won't be volunteers for the job.
The whole concept of capital punishment is repugnant to people. Instead of killing the killer, he should be force to hear Liberace music 24/7; that is truly a fate worse than death!
G M Larkin MD
Charlotte NC USA