Bill Would Bar Physicians From Participating in Executions
Two Assembly members on Tuesday said they would propose legislation to prevent physicians from participating in future executions of inmates because of possible medical ethics violations, the Sacramento Bee reports (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 2/22).
A federal judge ruled that evidence suggests previous inmates might have been conscious when lethal doses of drugs were administered. Under the ruling, the scheduled execution of an inmate on Tuesday could have proceeded if an anesthesiologist were present to determine whether the inmate were sufficiently unconscious after the first of three doses of medication (California Healthline, 2/21).
Assembly members Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Alan Nakanishi (R-Lodi) will introduce the legislation, which would restrict physicians from:
- Giving technical advice;
- Prescribing, administering or supervising drugs;
- Monitoring vital signs;
- Determining the moment of death; and
- Attending or otherwise participating in an execution (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 2/22).
The California Medical Association supports the bill (Shaw, Stockton Record, 2/22).
Several broadcast programs reported on the legislation and the medical ethics of the case:
- KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?": Guests on the program included Edgar Canada, president of the California Society of Anesthesiologists and pediatric anesthesiologist at Children's Hospital San Diego; Natasha Minsker, director of death penalty policy for the ACLU of Northern California; and Henry Weinstein, legal affairs writer for the Los Angeles Times (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?," KCRW, 2/21). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- NPR's "All Things Considered": The segment reports on anesthesiologists' involvement in executions and includes comments from Orin Guidry, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and Jack Lewin, CEO and executive vice president of CMA (Silberner, "All Things Considered," NPR, 2/21). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- NPR's "Day to Day": The segment includes comments from Priscilla Ray, chair of the American Medical Association's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (Chadwick, "Day to Day," NPR, 2/21). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- NPR's "Morning Edition": The segment includes comments from Lance Lindsey, executive director of Death Penalty Focus, and Michael Sexton, president of CMA (Campbell, "Morning Edition," NPR, 2/22). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.