Should American doctors participate in executions?

BioEdge

Michael Cook*

The American state of Arkansas executed four prisoners in April. They were given a lethal injection with a three-drug cocktail, a procedure which requires some medical skills. Should doctors take part in such executions?

The consensus amongst medical ethicists is No. The American Medical Association insists that participation violates a fundamental principal of medicine: do no harm. However, many of the 31 states with capital punishment require the presence of a doctor during the execution.

In an unusual intervention in the bitter debate, cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar has written an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that the presence of doctors is ethical. . . [Full text]

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