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July 3, 2006

A medical perspective on the lethal injection mess

As detailed in this Los Angeles Times article, Dr. Orin Guidry, the president of the 40,000-member American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), has posted a four-page "Message from the President" that advises members "to be well informed on the subject [of lethal injection] and steer clear."  This statement from the ASA president, which is entitled "Observations Regarding Lethal Injection" and can be accessed here, is an interesting read for anyone following the lethal injection scrummages.  I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

Even more troubling to me is the Missouri court's move [in a recent lethal injection ruling] to require an environment more like an "operating room". I am concerned because anesthesiologists actually have more of a reason not to be involved than other physicians.  The more the execution looks like an anesthetic, the less comfortable patients are likely to be with anesthesia.  Surgery is already a frightening time and one in which patients need to trust their anesthesiologist.  The last thing patients need is to equate the O.R. with a death chamber, to equate anesthetic drugs with death drugs, or to have in their subconscious the specter of the anesthesiologist as an executioner.

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July 3, 2006 at 07:29 PM | Permalink


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