Again - Another Botched Execution in Ohio
I. Groner MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery, OSU
May 25, 2007
execution of Joseph Clark in May, 2006, a thorough review of
Ohio's lethal injection protocol was performed. On June 27, 2006,
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Terry
Collins wrote a letter to Governor Taft describing several "refinements"
to the lethal injection protocol and stating that "Our goal
is to always complete the process in a professional and dignified
manner for all parties."
barely a year later, the State of
Ohio took even longer to execute Mr. Newton than it took to
execute Mr. Clark. The "medical team" spent over an hour
prodding Mr. Newton's arms and legs with needles in at least 10
different locations before intravenous access was obtained. The
entire procedure took nearly two hours, so long that Mr. Newton
required a bathroom break. He was declared dead nearly two hours
after the procedure began.
did all of the "refinements" fail? Because lethal injection
is based on medical technology and therefore requires medical expertise.
IV access problems occur every day in hospitals, but there are skilled
medical professionals available in hospitals to help out. In difficult
patients, sometimes sophisticated IV access procedures are performed
if physicians were to assist with an execution, they
would be violating fundamental principles of medical ethics.
Thus, lethal injection is inherently flawed. Performing a lethal
injection without medical professionals (such as physicians) can
cause torture, but performing it with physicians is unethical. Therefore,
no amount of "refinement" can fix Ohio's execution technique.
execution was both unprofessional and undignified. Future executions
are likely to be botched as well. It
is time for Governor Strickland to call for a moratorium on capital
punishment in Ohio.
I. Groner MD
Trauma Medical Director, Children's Hospital
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery
The Ohio State University College of Medicine
700 Children's Drive
Columbus, OH 43205