Troubled U.S. executions raise questions about doctors in death chamber

death penalty chambersource: Reuters
published: 25 July 2014

Troubled lethal injections in Oklahoma and Arizona have raised questions whether medical personnel are skilled enough to humanely put an inmate to death, and if things go wrong, expert enough to revive one if an order is given.

Almost all of the 32 states that use the death penalty either require or permit a physician to attend executions, which often are carried out by lesser-trained medical personnel, but doctors who participate risk losing their license to practice medicine if they are discovered to have helped.

Among the reasons for the recent problems include that medical personnel in the death chamber may not be familiar with mixing or administering new lethal cocktails being used after traditional supplies of execution drugs dried up, nor treating any side effects.

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