Local News

Board to Appeal Ruling Over Docs' Role in Executions

Posted October 18, 2007

Death Row, Death Penalty, Execution

The N.C. Medical Board will appeal a ruling that says it cannot discipline doctors for participating in prison executions.

Thom Mansfield, an attorney with the board, said Thursday that the board decided to file an appeal after holding a closed-door meeting to discuss the case.

A statement from the N.C. Medical Board said "after thoughtful deliberation, the Board determined that the principle that physicians should not take an active role in judicial executions is a principle that should not be abandoned."

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ruled on Sept. 19 that executions don't fall under the scope of activity the medical board can govern because they are not considered medical procedures.

Stephens also said the General Assembly is responsible for establishing rules regarding physician activities, and medical board policies can't trump state law.

"Although the current effort by the medical board to prohibit physician participation in executions may well be viewed as humane and noble, such a decision rests entirely with representatives elected by the citizens of this state," Stephens wrote in his ruling. "As of this date, the legislature has taken no such action."

Because of the medical board conflict and other legal issues, the Department of Correction has put several executions on hold.


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  • LuvLivingInCary Oct 18, 2007

    this medical board needs to be fired for pure waste of our taxpayer dollars used to fight this legal mess.

  • atozca Oct 18, 2007

    I guess this means the medical board will discipline any doctor that performs abortions as well.

  • Tax Man Oct 18, 2007

    The problem we have with the executions is that we want to coddle the criminal - we want to make sure he/she has a pleasant time in prison, gets good food, plenty of exercise, continuing education, frequent visits, a little spending money, cable TV with the movie channels, air conditioning, fresh air, a good mattress with nice blankets and a good pillow, security for his/her personal effects, privacy, soap, toothbrush, good medical and dental - I could go on and on and on. But many hard working law abiding citizens don't have all this - they pay their taxes but cannot afford some of the things we deem are the bare necessities of a convicted murderer/felon. So we think that if a person is sentenced to death it must be painless, comfortable, actually an enjoyable event - or it is "not fair" or is "cruel" or "unusual". I believe it is time to go back to public hangings, firing squads, the gas chamber and the electric chair - all without the need of any medical doctor.

  • pingman Oct 18, 2007

    WRAL, why can't we comment on the killing in Rocky Mount?

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Oct 18, 2007

    and on the same day this story shows up, an idiot runs up to someone in rocky Mount, and for appearantly no reason, stabs her to death! Thought's and Prayers go out to her family, and notice to the people responsible for not allowing justice to be served......We're keeping an eye on you, and the consequences of your decisions!

  • NZ Oct 18, 2007

    Take your pick of any case of child rape and murder mvNULL. Any of those many we have had to contend with during this current JUST US system. Justice coddles the pedophiles and child killers. If you think its okay now or will be better when we end Capital Punishment, you are part of the problem today.

  • mvnull Oct 18, 2007

    Wow, NZ. I must be watching too much science fiction. The images your last post brought to mind were:

    "... the guilty should be cast off in a worse manner than any of the "lower" species today." (Daleks, 'Dr. Who')

    "For the well being of the collective." (The Borg, 'Star Trek')

    It is hard to imagine anything more abhorent.

  • Trooper Oct 18, 2007

    Having the Medical board having authority over Dr's. is like putting the fox guarding the hen house, they should be trying to get rid of bad doctors rather than giving them a slap on the wrist for some and quit covering up bad doctors. That would be Noble!

  • NZ Oct 18, 2007

    Throughout history, a lot of innocent people died by the hands of Doctors in the name of research, there is a lot of good useful information which has advanced medical research immensely. Good or bad it was done.

    We should only use the death row folks for medical research. Medical progress would advance immensly today.

    At the end of the day, we the people should decide what is right and wrong not one individual not one board. True human innocence should be sacrosanct, the guilty should be cast off in a worse manner than any of the "lower" species today. For the well being of the collective.

  • mvnull Oct 18, 2007

    '"TO please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give ADVISE which may cause his death." Again, they are not prescribing any medication nor are they giving advice that CAUSES someone their death.'

    If all they are doing is observing, there is no need for a doctor. Until recently, that was the case -- they were there to pronounce death. The new rules for execution put doctors in an active role. They are there to advise concerning the IV, and whether the drugs are working as intended. Given the botched executions recently, that is a reasonable concern. But it does mean the doctor is taking an active role in killing someone.

    If people would stop yelling at each other and throwing invectives, it could probably be worked out. But, with the country & state the way it is today, that's not likely.