CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Florida Plans to Expand Its Lethal Injection Team

From At Florida lethal injections, a man in a purple moon suit leans over the dying inmate to listen for a heartbeat and feel for a pulse. After a few seconds, he nods and an announcement is made to the witnesses that the execution has been completed.

The man is a doctor and the attire shields his identity - not just from the prisoner's family and friends, but from the American Medical Association. Its code of ethics bars members from participating in executions, as do those of the American Nurses Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Florida Medical Association.

Despite those codes, Florida will ask Marion County Circuit Judge Carven D. Angel on Tuesday to approve its plan to add more doctors, nurses, phlebotomists (people trained to draw blood) and other medical professionals to its lethal injection teams - something that's done in other states.

But death penalty experts say Florida is the only state that uses a moon suit to shield the doctor's identity - although some others draw curtains or remove the execution witnesses before the doctor emerges. The plastic moon suit, similar to those worn by hazardous materials teams, covers the doctor completely from head to toe. Goggles worn beneath the clear plastic face shield conceals the doctor's identity even further. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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