Local News

Medical Board: New Execution Protocol a Problem

Posted July 18, 2007

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution

— The North Carolina Medical Board responded Tuesday to a state lawsuit over the board's policy to discipline any physician who participates in an execution.

The board adopted the policy in January, contending that taking part in an execution would violate a doctor's ethical code of conduct. Any physician who violated the policy would face suspension of his or her license.

State law requires that a licensed physician be present at all executions to ensure that the condemned inmate doesn't suffer.

In January, a Wake County judge halted several planned executions, ruling that the medical board's policy conflicted with the state law.  State officials then adopted a new protocol for executions in which physicians would State officials would be required to monitor an inmate's vital signs and halt any execution if it appeared the prisoner was suffering.

The state Department of Correction sued the medical board in March and asked that a judge prohibit the board from disciplining physicians who take part in executions.

In its response to the suit, the board maintains that its new policy never conflicted with state law until the new protocol was adopted.

"Since the adoption of lethal injection as a means of execution, no physician has participated in an execution in a manner inconsistent with the medical board's position statement," the board says in its court filing. "It was not until after the medical board issued its position statement that the plaintiffs in this case submitted the execution protocol that contemplates active participation by a physician in executions conducted by the state of North Carolina."

An administrative law judge is reviewing the issue. The medical board also contends his ruling would supersede any injunctive action sought by the state in the lawsuit.


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  • doodad Jul 19, 2007

    Isreal, whoever murdered Jenna Nielson deserves the death sentence. I do not share your sympathies for murderers such as this one.

  • Israel J Pattison Jul 19, 2007

    Perhaps we could just pretend to kill capital offenders and then put them back in prison afterwards where they belong? That way the sad suffering victim families can pretend that their savage act of revenge somehow vindicated their loss. That way we could all pretend that the death penalty had some sort of lasting affect on the rate of violent crime. That way the bloodthirsty posters on this board could pretend that their savage form of justice was something other than visceral entertainment. I know that I'd like to pretend that this whole process didn't take my hard-earned tax money and give it to lawyers, doctors and politicians pretending to act on my behalf.

  • doodad Jul 19, 2007

    Public execution would only encourage the irrationale to remain violent. (Are we that bloodthirsty? I think not.)

    Every person convicted of murder in the first degree that was premeditated, cold blooded, and proven with evidence without a doubt should receive the death penalty-nationwide. No more life sentences for murderers. If one is willing to take a life with malice, then he should be willing to forfeit his life and receive death also.

  • lancer Jul 19, 2007

    Bring back the guillotine, in public. No doctors needed, as the result is obvious. Let the victimes family pull the rope if tey so wish, or have a lottery for the honor.
    And, make all prisoners watch as a vivid reminder of what their fate could be.

  • 2 Jul 19, 2007

    rc4nc - I signed on to mention something to the same effect. Why in the world do we not do like in the old days where if a person was unquestionably guilty they were hung. That seems to be a very visual way and I personally believe if it was done more we would have substantially less crime. I am not talking about becoming Singapore, but lets not make it easy for people who repeatadly do bad things to good people.

  • rc4nc Jul 19, 2007

    Times were better when a prompt hanging was the punishment for capital crime.

  • Sick of Thugs 5 Jul 18, 2007

    Borg. The embryo did not willfully kill anyone. The thug did. There is the difference. Nice come back though. I am impressed.

  • Joy4u2 Jul 18, 2007

    Put them in a gas chamber like they do the poor animals that never killed nobody, that should take care of not having a doctor on call

  • Smorgas_Of_Borg Jul 18, 2007

    So, it's okay to kill adults, but not first trimester embryos? Seems a bit of a contradiction there. We kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong, right? I just can't understand how one can be pro-life AND pro-death penalty with a clear conscience. Maybe it's the difference between 'cute' and 'revenge'.

    "The Death Penalty : Late-term Abortion With A Vengeance"

  • Sick of Thugs 5 Jul 18, 2007

    "Can't monitor an execution but kill babies by the thousands every day through abortions. "

    This comment covers it all. It is very much a double standard to allow abortions and not allow participation in the death of an inmate.