The Medical Aspect of Execution - page 4

What do you all think of all the medical snafus in State sanctioned Capital Punishment? Who are the people in charge of this and why can't they get their act together? Is it that hard to humanely... Read More

  1. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    Quote from Avid reader
    I'll say this much. Whoever or whomever is your other half or spouse etc, they had better walk on eggshells around you lot. I think I will be looking at my fellow nurses differently from now on especially those of a certain geographical location. I thought we should be afraid of the criminals but thanks for the wake up call. It's given me a much better understanding of why things happen to certain types of people. You just never know your colleagues could actually harbour such proclivities.

    Why is that? What are you even talking about? I have found this to be a pretty good discussion on sticking to the facts and questions asked.
  2. by   hherrn
    Quote from Extra Pickles
    People can sit on Death Row for 10, 20, 25 years, with the average length of time being about 15 years. If there is a concern that medications expire before they can be used I have a bang-up idea, how about executing those who have a death sentence within a REASONABLE time period? 20 years on Death Row seriously?

    The manufacturer of the drugs might not like their drugs being associated with executions but I don't particularly care how they feel about it, they are a producer of a drug that is legally sold and legally purchased. They don't mind making the money from it's production or they'd stop producing it. I don't believe they should be able to dictate who buys it and for what purpose as long as it's a legal transaction.

    I can't believe that inability to get a vein for IV access can be this big of a deal. How many of us have had the nearly-impossible stick for a patient with a history of IV drug abuse or co-morbids that make access very difficult? Yet we get them done, sometimes with a Doppler if you have that ability and sometimes with someone who is just THAT.GOOD at IVs. Surely with the kind of lead time they have for an execution the facility can locate a single human being (or two or three for backups) with this ability?

    There are enough valid options for drugs and methods that kill people. Tussling over whether it's slightly uncomfortable or very uncomfortable is just too much IMHO, they are being executed as capital punishment for goodness' sake they aren't patients who are going to live through this procedure and complain about the staff not being concerned enough about their wellbeing! Yes it should be as comfortable as possible, that's humane. But if the medication burns when it goes in, or requires two or three different drugs with different routes to accomplish I think in the grand scheme of things it's ok. I'm not advocating for cruelty when it can be easily avoided. I do think that we should be remembering that execution isn't about patient care, it's about the carrying out of justice (and if you don't believe it's justice I can respect that but that's a different discussion!).
    "Surely with the kind of lead time they have for an execution the facility can locate a single human being (or two or three for backups) with this ability?"

    Well, apparently not.
    That is a huge part of the problem. It turns out that a willingness to perform executions goes hand in hand with incompetence.

    As Dr. Jay Chapman, the Oklahoma coroner who essentially created the modern lethal injection protocol, observed in the New York Times in 2007, "It never occurred to me when we set this up that we'd have complete idiots administering the drugs."

    I am sure if you asked any of those idiots, they would say they are competent. (That phenomenon explained here.)

    Anybody actually competent in this field would know that it could be done safely and simply. But, how many CCRN nurses do you figure participate in executions?
  3. by   Boomer MS, RN
    Quote from ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    Why is that? What are you even talking about? I have found this to be a pretty good discussion on sticking to the facts and questions asked.
    I agree. Please don't let this discussion deteriorate into a mean diatribe. I admit I don't know how I feel about capital punishment, but this a forum where I can learn and hear opposing and similar views.
  4. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    Quote from Boomer MS, RN
    I agree. Please don't let this discussion deteriorate into a mean diatribe. I admit I don't know how I feel about capital punishment, but this a forum where I can learn and hear opposing and similar views.
    Exactly, I mean sure some people are going to have strong feelings and opinions. But majority of the posts in this thread have kept personal feelings out of it and focused on the topic at hand and questions asked. I have found it very informative. I can respect it's a passionate and touchy topic. But we are talking about medications used and the mishaps that happen and opinions on best way to solve these issues with the current facts at play which is public execution exists as or now.
  5. by   RiskManager
    Lethal injection

    Some interesting facts about the development and use of lethal injection, and some cases that have gone awry.
  6. by   puravidaLV
    i'm always amazed how much we rely on medications to basically put someone to death. Knock them out with a sedater, have the sentenced up on a tele monitor and take the oxygen out of the chamber and pop in nitrogen or CO2. Its night night and clean. No toaster smell, failed ropes, six people wondering if they shot the fatal bullet, or companies stating they don't want to have their medicine associated with the death penalty (yet sold it a bunch of times for that purpose knowingly).
  7. by   Tenebrae
    I recall an execution a few years ago in Ohio and being absolutely horrified when the department of corrections said they were going to increase the midazolam from 10-50mg and hydromorphone from 40-50mg, I have palliative patients who would recieving more than that in one dose

    State prison officials defend Dennis McGuire's execution but intend to increase dosage of lethal-injection drugs | cleveland.com

    Personally I'm opposed to the death penalty. Yes, I understand the desire to see those who commit such vile evil crimes against people pay for those crimes in much of the same manner. I think however if a country is to continue to execute people under certain circumstances they have an obligation to do it in as humane manner as possible, because it makes them no better than the original criminal
  8. by   ChryssyD
    Quote from Guy in Babyland
    Why do we need to execute people so they die comfortably and quietly? Maybe I am a horrible person, but did the victims that these people killed die comfortably and quietly? Why are we treating these prisoners with such dignity and respect even though they gave their victims no dignity or respect?

    My proposal is that they are executed in the manner that their victims died.
    Ouch. Like the Jordanian pilot whose bombs burned children to death...so he was executed by locking him in a cage and setting him on fire (by ISIS)? I see the harsh justice in it...but I could never condone it. Yuck.

    Seems the whole debate over humane capital punishment could be settled by conceding that killing someone who doesn't want to die is by definition inhumane. So, either dispense with the pretense of needing a nice, clean kill, or admit that judicial execution is an ugly part of our barbaric, primitive heritage and born of nothing more elevated than the desire for revenge, which can unfortunately be visited accidentally on a person who is innocent. If we're prepared to live with that, so be it. If not, save the states lots of money on endless appeals and just lock up society's ugliest monsters and throw away the key.
  9. by   wyosamRN
    IV access issues aside, from reading summaries of various botched executions, they are counting far too much on the sedation drugs (or eliminating the paralytic/KCL entirely). In all the stories of thrashing and gasping, which is indeed horrible- they are waiting too long- give a reasonable sedating dose of whatever you're using, let it take effect, push the paralytic, push the K. Done. What it looks like is being done in many cases, is giving someone an overdose of benzo/barbituate/opiate, and waiting for a state of general anesthesia before progressing the medication sequence. That doesn't make any sense. That's like pushing propofol or etomidate at the beginning of an intubation sequence, then just waiting it out without giving any ventilation support. The humane (not in a moral sense, medically speaking) thing to do, is to continue and end it quickly. Has anyone found any evidence of a prolonged death when they actually got paralytic and KCL into circulation?

    As far as access, it sure seems like we as a society should be able to train someone (who admittedly is probably not coming from the medical community), to gain vascular access in just about anyone. US guided placement isn't rocket science- I think I could train anyone with some basic video game skills and no medical training whatsoever to be pretty proficient.

    For clarification, I think the medical aspect of this topic is very interesting. I'm not sure where I fall on the "should we do it" question, but we should definitely get better at if we are going to do it.
    Last edit by wyosamRN on Apr 26
  10. by   twinmommy+2
    Quote from Guy in Babyland
    Why do we need to execute people so they die comfortably and quietly? Maybe I am a horrible person, but did the victims that these people killed die comfortably and quietly? Why are we treating these prisoners with such dignity and respect even though they gave their victims no dignity or respect?

    My proposal is that they are executed in the manner that their victims died.
    Because there are still those dying during executions who are innocent of the crime to which they are accused. Not that it even happens often.

    Maybe 15 years is given to make sure the prisoner is not innocent.

    Sorry always have been the devils advocate.
  11. by   iluvivt
    I would gladly volunteer to start an IV that I know will be used for lethal injection. Over the years I have watched news reports as the prisoner awaits his or her fate just waiting for the announcement that it was delayed because they could not gain IV access.I always thought that I would have no problem starting an IV for that purpose.
  12. by   ~♪♫ in my ♥~
    Quote from Avid reader
    I'll say this much. Whoever or whomever is your other half or spouse etc, they had better walk on eggshells around you lot. I think I will be looking at my fellow nurses differently from now on especially those of a certain geographical location. I thought we should be afraid of the criminals but thanks for the wake up call. It's given me a much better understanding of why things happen to certain types of people. You just never know your colleagues could actually harbour such proclivities.
    Don't confuse brainstorming and problem solving with endorsement. Personally, I'm very conflicted about capital punishment. I just don't see that the task is as difficult to perform as is being made out.

    If one wants to oppose it on moral, ethical, or religious grounds, so be it. However, to claim that it can't be done with minimal physical pain or suffering is simply false.

    And...

    Quote from Avid reader
    Whoever or whomever is your other half or spouse etc, they had better walk on eggshells around you lot.
    Really?

    You're conflating support for capital punishment with domestic violence?

    Really?
  13. by   macawake
    For ethical reasons I refuse to participate in the discussion on which specific method of carrying out the death penalty would be the quickest, most "efficient" or "humane". I'm simply not prepared to sit here and have a clinical discussion about the "preferred" method. As a nurse anesthetist I could offer suggestions of "pain-free" methods, but even successfully utilizing such a method wouldn't make executions humane. It's the entire concept of the state deciding to kill a person in retaliation for crimes committed that I object to. The cruelty of such a decision isn't only present in the moment when the sentence is about to be carried out. The greater cruelty is in the time leading up to the execution date. The knowledge that one is about to be murdered next Tuesday or next April or whatever, is mental torture.

    There are many reasons to object to capital punishments. One I've already mentioned. What makes us as a society any better than the violent offender when we decide to mete out punishment in the form of murder? We lose the moral high ground when we do that. There are other reasons to oppose capital punishment/state-sanctioned murder. All the criminological research that I've ever laid eyes on shows it's an ineffective deterrent. The only remaining justification in support for capital punishment would be vengeance/tit-for-tat, which I believe sullies us all. Nietzsche's abyss and all that... Also, capital punishment is the only punishment that can't be corrected/compensated if new evidence comes to light showing that the executed individual was wrongfully convicted. That, as I'm sure you all are aware, has happened. And you can't "unkill" the executed person.


    Quote from hppygr8ful
    I haven't read through all the comments but I'm a big proponent for bringing back "Old Sparky". Far too much effort is wasted on being humane in this situation.
    How can any effort spent on being humane ever be considered wasted? Should we only grant our fellow man humaneness on conditional/selective basis? What does that make us?

    I believe these felons should feel every bit of terror, fear and uncertainty that was felt by their victims in the moments leading up to their deaths.
    Why? What purpose does this serve in your mind? I'll be frank with you. This kind of bloodlust scares me.

    To describe a really heinous crime, lets say we have a violent criminal who has held a person captive for a longer period of time, brutally raped and finally murdered that person. You suggest society should do the same to that criminal? Who do you think should have as a job to rape, torture and kill the criminal? Could you find a decent person who would accept this as part of his/her job description? Do a little 9-5, M-F rape/assault/murder and go home and have dinner with the wife/husband and kids afterwards? Or should society/the state simply hire a couple of sociopathic murderers to carry out "sentences" on its behalf? (This would in my opinion not only be looking into the aforementioned abyss, it would be enthusiastically embracing it).

    Listen, I belive most of us can relate to experiencing feelings of rage we when we read/hear about, or worse come in close contact with extremely brutal criminals/crimes and experience the unimaginable grief and pain they can afflict on other human beings. But how on earth can more brutal violence ever be the antidote?





    I wholeheartedly agree with the point that Avid reader made regarding the countries which uses the death penalty. The practice of capital punishment makes the U.S. culturally more similar to China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Somalia than it is to Canada, Denmark, France or Germany. I think that's strange as I for the most part consider the former both repressive and oppressive and quite frankly not very twenty-first century when it comes to defending and protecting human rights. To me there is an element of dissonance. The U.S. is a modern country in many other aspects, but on the matter of the death penalty you are more aligned with autocratic, undemocratic, backwards regimes.



    @Emergent, if you consider U.S. prisons "cushy" I'm willing to bet that you've never seen the inside of a Scandinavian prison

    Anders Breivik: Just how cushy are Norwegian prisons? - BBC News

    I personally believe that a prison sentence should be loss of liberty, no more no less. (Serious crimes in my opinion = long prison sentences up to and including life when warranted, but it should still just be loss of liberty).

    If society's end goal is to rehabilitate the prisoner and hopefully turn him/her into a productive member of society, it's a smarter investment to see to that the prisoner rejoins the outside world with the means to work/financially support him/herself and not filled with anger/resentment/ bitterness/hatred and a sense of not belonging in society. If you look at criminological research the trend is that humane prisons with real attempts at rehabilitation = lower recidivism rates. So even if an individual person isn't a big fan of being "cushy" towards criminals, they can at least take comfort from the fact that societally, it's the smart thing to do.
    Last edit by macawake on Apr 26

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