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Inmates lethal injection

Mirko Daniel Garasic
In October 2003 the Supreme Court of the United States allowed Arkansas officials to force Charles Laverne Singleton, a schizophrenic prisoner convicted of murder, to take drugs that would render him sane enough to be executed. On January 6 2004 he was killed by lethal injection, raising many ethical questions. By reference to the Singleton case, this article will analyse in both moral and legal terms the controversial justifications of the enforced medical treatment of death-row inmates. Starting with a description of the Singleton case, I will highlight the prima facie reasons for which this case is problematic and merits attention...
November 2013: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
Teresa A Zimmers, Jonathan Sheldon, David A Lubarsky, Francisco López-Muñoz, Linda Waterman, Richard Weisman, Leonidas G Koniaris
BACKGROUND: Lethal injection for execution was conceived as a comparatively humane alternative to electrocution or cyanide gas. The current protocols are based on one improvised by a medical examiner and an anesthesiologist in Oklahoma and are practiced on an ad hoc basis at the discretion of prison personnel. Each drug used, the ultrashort-acting barbiturate thiopental, the neuromuscular blocker pancuronium bromide, and the electrolyte potassium chloride, was expected to be lethal alone, while the combination was intended to produce anesthesia then death due to respiratory and cardiac arrest...
April 2007: PLoS Medicine
Teresa A Zimmers, David A Lubarsky
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Lethal injection has come under fire as less than the peaceful, painless death it appears. Reevaluation of the process has sparked examination of the role of doctors in state-sponsored executions. RECENT FINDINGS: Physicians helped design the lethal injection protocol. Seventeen death penalty states require physician involvement and all practicing jurisdictions employ medical personnel. Doctors have signed death warrants, rendered inmates competent, provided intravenous access, monitored vital signs, administered lethal injections and declared death...
April 2007: Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology
(no author information available yet)
An explosion of Eighth Amendment challenges to lethal injection protocols has struck the federal courts. The Supreme Court's recent decision in Hill v. McDonough,1 which empowered prisoners to bring challenges to lethal injection procedures under 42 U.S.C. para. 1983, has facilitated a flood of new lethal injection cases. In response, several courts have ordered states to alter their protocols, spurring other capital inmates to litigate such challenges. Distressingly, the courts evaluating these claims have almost no law to guide them...
March 2007: Harvard Law Review
Leonidas G Koniaris, Teresa A Zimmers, David A Lubarsky, Jonathan P Sheldon
Anaesthesia during lethal injection is essential to minimise suffering and to maintain public acceptance of the practice. Lethal injection is usually done by sequential administration of thiopental, pancuronium, and potassium chloride. Protocol information from Texas and Virginia showed that executioners had no anaesthesia training, drugs were administered remotely with no monitoring for anaesthesia, data were not recorded and no peer-review was done. Toxicology reports from Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina showed that post-mortem concentrations of thiopental in the blood were lower than that required for surgery in 43 of 49 executed inmates (88%); 21 (43%) inmates had concentrations consistent with awareness...
April 16, 2005: Lancet
C Michalos
The article focuses on the ethical and moral issues raised by the participation of physicians in the execution process in the United States of America. Discussion centres on two main areas. Firstly, participation in the actual execution, particularly where the method is lethal injection; and secondly psychiatric assessment and treatment of inmates who are deemed not competent in law for execution. It is argued that as an execution is a harm, participation runs counter to the ethics of the medical participation and cannot be justified even on the basis of relieving pain...
1997: Medicine and Law
M Stolls
Capital punishment by lethal injection, which was expected to be the most safe and effective of available methods, can produce unusually cruel and inhuman death. In Heckler v. Chaney, inmates sentenced to death by lethal injection, as well as members of both the medical and legal communities, challenged the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) refusal to regulate certain drugs used for capital punishment by lethal injection. By declining to review the FDA's nonenforcement decision, the Supreme Court also declined an opportunity to reevaluate its standard for determining cruel and unusual punishment, which upholds any method of execution that is no more unusually cruel than existing methods...
1985: American Journal of Law & Medicine
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