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Lethal Injection for Execution: Chemical Asphyxiation?

Lethal Injection for Execution: Chemical Asphyxiation?

In a study published in POLS Medicine (an peer-reviewed open-access journal) in April by the Public Library of Science, six scientists spent three years analyzing more than 50 medical examiner reports of North Carolina and California inmates who had been injected with the short-acting anesthetic thiopental, paralytic pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. The study concluded that the drug protocol was a "failure" because the inmates had below acceptable levels of thiopental in their systems indicating they probably suffered immense pain before they died.

The results of this paper suggest that current protocols used for lethal injection in the US probably violate the 8th Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

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James Peacock
James Peacock (Faculty)
10 years ago
This site would be very useful in exploring ethical issues related to capital puinishment. With a robust collection of links to germane documents and tables. Students with opinions on both sides of the death penalty argument can find ample material for animated discussion. Especially useful is the comprehensive presentation of ethical problems for those involved in the process.