Thursday, 22 February 2007

Anonymous Medical Professional was Dead Wrong in Lethal Injection Testimony

For Immediate Release - February 20, 2007


Jonathan I. Groner MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, office 614-722-3919, cell 614-204-1824

Anonymous Medical Professional was Dead Wrong in Lethal Injection Testimony

At a February 19 hearing before the Governor’s Commission on Administration of Lethal injection, a man with an electronically disguised voice, who had unknown qualifications, testified that not only did the Diaz execution go smoothly, but also that the intravenous lines had been placed properly. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The autopsy of clearly demonstrates that neither intravenous cannula was in the proper position. The report states, “cannulae extend into vein lumens through punctures in anterior vein walls and continue through posterior vein walls and into underlying soft tissues. Tips of both cannulae are embedded in soft tissues and not in vascular lumina.” This indicates that the IVs punctured through the veins at the time of insertion. The anonymous assertion that the IVs somehow perforated the veins after Mr. Diaz died is simply false.

Furthermore, the autopsy reports “fluid filled bullae” (blisters) on both arms, with “focal erythematous changes in the surrounding skin.” These are clearly chemical burns from the execution drugs, and measured 12 x 5 inches on the right arm and 11x 7 inches on the left arm. Chemical burns of this size cause severe pain.

The autopsy report clearly demonstrates that the lethal injection of Angel Diaz was anything but smooth. This botched execution , which caused pain and suffering, should encourage the Florida Commission to consider a moratorium on capital punishment.

Note: Jonathan I. Groner MD has written and spoken extensively about the role of physicians in lethal injection. He recently returned from speaking at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Paris, France. His articles have been published in BMJ (British Medical Journal), Health and Human Rights: An International Journal, and Ethics and Medicine.

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