When doctors are expected to kill – administering a lethal injection
More significantly in June 2006, the American Society of Anaesthesiologists sent letters to its 40,000 members urging them to ‘steer clear of any participation in execution.’ Missouri officials then sent nearly 300 letters to anaesthetists in the state and in Illinois to ascertain their ‘willingness to participate in execution’. To date not a single recipient has said they would so it seems the Society’s call is being heard. In a further development the following month North Carolina’s state medical board banned doctors from participating in state executions.
Choosing to participate Despite what appears as widespread reluctance by the medical profession to participate in lethal injections many doctors are still willing to assist in state execution. An American Medical Association survey found that 19
percent would inject lethal drugs and 41 percent said they would perform at least one of the eight acts (see table)2. Many individuals balance their clinical responsibility against their duties to society and agreed to their involvement. Many also wanted to provide a ‘painless’’ death and were concerned with the expertise of the technician-level staff. In a case that caused particular furore among the medical profession, the governor of Kentucky, who is a doctor, signed the death warrant of a prisoner with an IQ of 74. Executive counsel John Roach said Dr Fletcher did not violate the American Medical Association guidelines and that in signing a death warrant, he is in ‘no way participating in the conduct of an execution’. Doctors still refuse to be present in the execution room in California. Their role in administering lethal injections across the United States is still uncertain - but executions continue in the other states.
Starke Prison, Florida Death Row Cells A Death Row cell is 6x9x9.5 feet high. Florida State Prison also has Death Watch cells to incarcerate inmates awaiting execution after the Governor signs a death warrant for them. A Death Watch cell is 12x7x8.5 feet high.
Last Meal Prior to execution, an inmate may request a last meal. To avoid extravagance, the food to prepare the last meal must cost no more than $40 and must be purchased locally.
Contact When a death warrant is signed the inmate is put under Death Watch status and is allowed a legal and social phone call. While on Death Watch, inmates may have radios and televisions positioned outside their cell bars. Florida Department of Corrections
Starke Prison, Florida Execution Room Picture: Florida Department of Corrections
Junior DR magazine design and layout. Issue 15.