Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ethical Concerns Halts Death Penalty Execution

Prison officials in California postponed indefinitely the execution of a condemned killer, saying they could not comply with a judge’s order that a medical professional administer the lethal injection.

The ethical showdown came to a head when two anesthesiologists refused to participate in the execution after learning they would be expected to tell prison officials whether or not the prisoner needed more sedation or possibly even give him more medication, thereby allowing the execution to proceed. Prison officials couldn't find a doctor, nurse, or other person licensed to inject medications to give a fatal dose of barbiturate.

The AMA and many other medical groups have long opposed doctors having any role in executions, including monitoring a prisoner’s vital signs or giving technical advice.


asdfasdf said...

Great post! I found it very thought-provoking because it raised a lot of ethical questions about current laws concerning civil rights. I did a derivative of your post on my blog- briefly describing the situation and including the ethical implications of this issue in the foreseeable future.

As a future medical professional, I feel that any refusal to partake in a state execution is a right to be protected from governmental interference of our liberty.

Linda MacDonald Glenn said...

Thanks, Lavon -- I love your blog, too! great posts on technology and ethics concerns