Thursday, 28 December 2006

The Florida execution doctor - NO MORE FLORIDA SECRECY

Some seconds later he said some things that we could not hear. I was stunned and spontaneously said out loud, “We can’t hear him. What is he saying?” The painted lady next to me whispered “Shhhsh!” and a guard said, “No talking” and moved closer to me at the side of the window.

A minute later his chest stopped moving, several minutes passed and at 6:42 a man in a lab coat came out from behind the curtain at the rear of the chamber. The man checked Amos’ heart beat with a stethoscope, then he returned behind the curtain. Then Dr. Victor Selyutin the second man also dressed in a white medical lab coat came out, checked Amos for a heart beat with a stethoscope and then checked his eyes. Dr. Selyutin then looked toward Assistant Warden Allen Clark and nodded.

The Florida State Execution Protocol specifically states that:

“Once the condemned inmate is pronounced dead by the physician, the member of the Execution Team designated by the Warden shall record the time death is pronounced.”

The ethical rules of the American Medical Association specifically forbid member physicians from pronouncing death as this involves direct examination of the body and should the physician determine the condemned person is not dead it would lead to further application of poison to bring about death. There is a big difference between pronouncing death and certifying death.

What any physician, nurse or medical technician would be doing in an execution chamber is a real question in view of the primary intent of medicine being that of first doing no harm. I could not help but wonder it Dr. Selyutin had made himself an extra hundred and fifty bucks for the day by administering the poisons himself.

At that point the curtain was quickly drawn over the observation window and we were told to leave the witness area, official State witnesses first.


Anonymous said...

It is comon courtesy to cite the author and source of an excerpt. In this case the author Is Rev. Kobutsu Malone and the source is:

sisselnor said...

There is already a link to Malone`s original article in the heading of this posting.
I hope you all will read the whole article

Anonymous said...

Testimony regarding Physician Assistant William Matthews role during the Diaz execution was conflicting: was he an observer or part of the team? The FDLE observer saw two medical people behind the executioners during Diaz. According to Matthews, he was there with two other medical people. Dr. Elio Madan, the medical director at Florida State Prison, claimed he remained in the cell nearest the chamber alone and then only pronounced death. He denied watching the heart monitors. Dr. Selyutin’s testimony conflicted with Dr. Madan’s in that he said that he waited in the same cell during the execution in case he was needed. He reported that Dr. Madan was not there. Dr. Selyutin, who has pronounced death in the past, readily admitted that part of his role was to watch the heart monitors and that he never understood why "Tallahassee rules" required him to wear a disguise.

At the hearing, Dr. Selyutin testified that he was present at the execution at the express request of Dr. Madan, and that DOC rules (which Mr. Lightbourne has never seen) require the presence of two doctors. T. 6/19/07, p. 1168.

Are Physician Assistant William Matthews, Dr. Victor Selyutin, and Dr. Madan standing behind the executioners and coaching them?

Anonymous said...

But a previous version of the execution procedure, which was outlined by the state in the case of executed inmate Terry Sims, sheds more light on the issue.

A pharmacist prepares the lethal drugs and a physician stands behind the executioner while the drugs are administered, according to court records. These steps take place out of the sight of execution witnesses.

Standing behind the executioner and coaching him seems to violate the doctor's oath, AMA guidelines, role as healer, ect.. It goes far beyond pronouncing desth.