How to kill better

Over at PLoS Medicine, there is an article entitled "Ethical Implications of Modifying Lethal Injection Protocols"

Courts in the United States have historically judged execution methods against "evolving standards of decency," and have prohibited punishments that involve "the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain," or more recently the "substantial risk of serious harm".

Harm?  Isn't death "serious harm"?

"The intravenous delivery of an anesthetic, a paralytic, and potassium chloride in lethal injection protocols is intended to cause a painless death, which likely accounts for its use in 930 of the 1,100 executions in the United States from the re-establishment of the death penalty in 1976 to May 6, 2008 ..."

We no longer have the death penalty in South Africa.  And when we did, it was never the electric chair.  Imagine load shedding during an execution?

Under all accepted ethical guidelines, including the Common Rule, participation of research subjects must be free and not subjected to undue influence or coercion. Finally, while some lethal injection studies could be considered minimal or no risk (electrocardiogram monitoring, post-mortem sample collection) others, including the addition or omission of drugs and altering of drug doses and sequences, seem to present substantial risk. Indeed, the risk of extreme pain and suffering is at the heart of the current lethal injection debate.

BTW, the myth that if someone fails to die during an execution he/she gets freed is just that - a myth.


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