CrimProf Blog

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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Prisoner in Ohio Wins a Stay Against a Second Execution Attempt"

The story is in the New York Times. The article describes the "Hippocratic paradox":

Dr. Jonathan I. Groner, a professor of medicine at Ohio State University, cites what he calls the Hippocratic paradox: it is doctors who are best qualified to carry out executions by lethal injection, and yet, as medical organizations have periodically reminded them, their doing so is ethically proscribed.

The task of injecting a deadly cocktail of drugs instead falls on execution teams whose training, Dr. Groner said, does not adequately prepare them for prisoners who among other problems may be obese or have veins ravaged by intravenous drug abuse. (In a log reviewed by The Associated Press, Mr. Broom’s executioners attributed their trouble to his past IV drug abuse, use that he has denied.)

“The problem is there’s no Plan B,” said Dr. Groner, an outspoken opponent of the death penalty. “They have a group of individuals who have a certain skill set for inserting IVs. It’s a very low skill level, and some of the inmates are extremely challenging.”

The article quotes from the affidavit by the condemned man describing the botched execution effort.

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