Friday, 16 February 2007

William Mathews also related to the botched Florida execution of Pedro Medina


The physician's assistant, William Mathews, examined Medina's body. At that time, Medina was not breathing or exchanging air through his nostrils; his pupils were fixed and dilated; and he had an agonal pulse and heart sounds. When the physician's assistant was no longer able to detect any pulse or heart sounds, the attending physician, Dr. Almojera, examined Medina and pronounced him dead at 7:10 a.m. During Dr. Almojera's last examination Medina's chest was seen to move two or three times in a two to four minute period. A couple of witnesses thought Medina was trying to breathe. Several witnesses did not describe it as attempted breathing, but as a lurching, spasmodic movement, a shudder, and outward not upward movement. No witness, particularly those closest to Medina, could state that he was in fact breathing or attempting to breathe.


The trial court summarized the findings of the pathologists who conducted the autopsy of Medina:


1. The head had a "burn ring" on the crown of the head that was common in executions by judicial electrocution.


2. Within the "burn ring" there was a third degree burn on the crown of the head, with deposits of charred material . . . .


3. There was a first degree burn of the upper front face and head, caused by scalding steam . . . . Unlike the Tafero execution, Medina had no burning of the eyebrows, eyelashes, or small hairs of the face that would have resulted if the burning had been the result of a flame rather than steam.

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