Lethal injection is not designed to be a humane method of execution; it is designed to appear to be a humane method of execution. Why else would there be a need for pancuronium when the dose of either thiopental or potassium alone would be lethal? The pancuronium ensures that a person in severe pain cannot demonstrate this fact to witnesses.
A humane method of execution is an oxymoron. The deliberate killing of a human being is always a brutal and violent act. The argument that the death penalty deters murder is so discredited that death-penalty supporters do not even bother to make it anymore. Therefore, the only justification for the death penalty is a desire for vengeance. Death-penalty supporters want to have their cake and eat it too. They wish to satisfy their bloodlust but still claim to be humane. By participating in executions, physicians would merely help them to achieve this end.
Robert J. Yaes, M.D., Sc.D.
15 Quantum Place
Gaithersburg, MD 20877