Local News

New Death Penalty Process Would Keep Doctors Present

Posted February 2, 2007

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution
— State leaders will spend the weekend considering a death penalty protocol that changes the role of physicians but still appears to clash with the North Carolina Medical Board's rule that says doctors may not participate in executions.

Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Correction released detailed procedures for lethal injection. The revised rules still require a doctor to be present, and they appear to increase the physician's role in an effort to make sure inmates do not suffer as they die.

A judge halted three scheduled executions after the medical board ruled doctors cannot be present at executions because that amounts to participation. The current protocol requires a physician be present, but a nurse and emergency medical technician monitor the inmate's condition.

The new protocol calls for a doctor to monitor the condemned inmate's body functions and notify the warden if it appears the prisoner is suffering. At that point, the execution would be stopped.

The Council of State is expected to vote on the plan Tuesday.

Death-penalty opponents have argued that inmates may suffer pain during lethal injection, but the drug cocktail they are given paralyzes them and makes it impossible for them to signal discomfort. Several states have halted all executions because of the controversy.

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  • wraltv Feb 3, 2007

    THEY ARE MURDERERS!!! It's a death sentence for crying out loud! It's supposed to be uncomfortable!

  • the pied piper Feb 3, 2007

    I wonder... Why should the inmates be treated with kid gloves? They murdered a person. I'm sure their victim(s) suffered. Maybe the condemned needs to feel a little pain, if anything. Just my 2 cents.
    Blessed Be.

  • asilentmn1 Feb 3, 2007

    to much attention is on the inmates comfort...we all need to remember that the victim was mostlikely experiencing the most horrorfying and terrorizing moments of their life.......leathal injection in my opinion is already way to humane for the inmate......we need to go back to the gas chamber and electric chair where they can experince a slight period of horror and terror as did the victim......stop worrying about some slight and brief pain and focus your concerns on how long it takes to put someone to death after the sentence is handed down.....that is the big problem in the death sentence period.........

  • Fiddlemom Feb 3, 2007

    What happens when the doctor thinks the inmate is suffering? Stop the execution? Then what? Start it back? Seems like this opens a new can of worms.
    As a health care worker, I have to wonder how is the doctor going to determine if the inmate is suffering? Facial grimacing? Abnormalities in eeg, ekg?, vital signs? Where does it end?

  • raider Feb 3, 2007

    Who was there to make sure their victims weren't suffering?

  • hurricanesfan17 Feb 3, 2007

    That is soooo stupid, very dumb... WHat about the electric chair..what are they going to do with that? That is painful, I think the eyes pop out of the sockets with that... I am so tired of the whole comfort level these days, people protest the most stupid things.

  • JustMyView Feb 3, 2007

    suffering??? this is more of a break than they gave their victims. I wonder if any of them ever had a chance to say please don't hurt me? --- let's get on with applying justice

  • WXYZ Feb 3, 2007

    Wow! What is the DOC thinking! Have they even consulted the NC Medical Board? All licensed health professionals, not just MD's, take an oath to do "Do No Harm". In addition, ALL of the NC state license boards expressly forbid ALL licensed health professionals from doing harm or doing anything which might, remotely be considered doing harm or condoning the actions of others who might inflict harm to anyone, anywhere, anytime, in anyway and for any reason. ALL NC licensing boards must publish their position on this matter as soon as possible.

  • mchlpickle Feb 3, 2007

    So what does this mean? Will the medical board reprimand a doctor for being present. What good does this new protocol do. It still puts a doctor on the spot and could still stop the executions. Let the executions continue and stop using tax payers money to keep them alive.

  • BRUCEY BABY Feb 3, 2007