Thursday, 24 July 2008

Dyslexic doc involved in lethal injection in Arizona

From the blog : "Sentencing, Law and Policy" :

July 24, 2008

Dyslexic doc involved in lethal injection in Arizona

As first discussed here two years ago, a federal judge ordered Missouri's machinery of death to come to a halt in 2006 based in part on evidence that the doctor involved in lethal injections readily admitted that he is dyslexic and had thus could have problems carrying out the execution protocol. Then, as discussed here, last year there was a report indicating that this same doctor was a part of the federal government's execution team. Now, The Arizona Republic has this new story indicating that the doctor was involved in a 2007 execution in Arizona. Here is how the story begins:

A Missouri surgeon who was banned by a federal judge from taking part in capital executions by lethal injection in his home state apparently participated in Arizona's most recent execution.

Dr. Alan Doerhoff is believed to have taken part in the May 22, 2007, execution of Robert Comer, 11 months after Doerhoff's Missouri lethal-injection procedure was ruled unconstitutional and eight months after the physician was prohibited from further executions in Missouri because of questions about his standards and competence.

Doerhoff's signature appears below the flat line of an electrocardiogram tape that recorded Comer's last heartbeats, suggesting that Doerhoff at least monitored the murderer's condition in his final moments.

The doctor's techniques appear to have influenced new Arizona procedures for execution by lethal injection, specifically a practice of administering the killing chemicals through a catheter in the groin instead of through an arm. It's a method that some critics say is too complex and contributes to higher risks of error that could lead to undue suffering.

According to a prominent medical expert on lethal injection, that practice occurs only in the Missouri and federal protocols, which Doerhoff is believed to have influenced or devised. He is known to have participated in executions for those jurisdictions.

The Arizona Department of Corrections at first denied having any association with Doerhoff, a Jefferson City, Mo., resident. When told that The Republic had his signature from Comer's electrocardiogram, Corrections officials cited state statutes that protect the identity of Arizona executioners.

Some related posts:

July 24, 2008 at 05:42 PM | Permalink

No comments: