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davidtrump

Should the Death Penalty be allowed? : Physicians at Executions

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PRO
"We expect physicians to offer comfort care to the dying, even if the treatment, like morphine to dampen end-stage cancer pain, will inevitably hasten death. These physicians are not killing their patients; they are comforting them in their final moments of life...

Death row inmates have certain parallels to dying patients. Death is coming. A physician can do nothing to change that. All that can be offered is professional care during the final moments of life. And that should be of comfort to the condemned...

The idea that physicians may participate in executions does not mean that they must do so. But it should be an option for those who believe that they have a duty to ease suffering and that this duty includes caring for those who will die at the hands of the state...

Physician involvement in lethal injection can make capital punishment less grotesque, more palatable, and even routine. But so long as the state uses the tools of the physician to kill its citizens, those who wish to step in to ensure that executions are, at the very least, competently handled should have the option to do so. Anything else is death penalty politics at the expense of the condemned. And no matter where you come out on capital punishment, no one should be sentenced to a botched execution."

Kenneth F. Baum, MD, JD
Partner at Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, LLP
Julie Cantor, MD, JD
Attorney Of Counsel at Goldman, Ismail, Tomaselli, Brennan & Baum, LLP
"Doctors Can Ease Suffering, Even in Executions,"
nytimes.com

CON
"No matter how one feels about capital punishment, it is disquieting for physicians to act as agents of the state in the assisting, supervising or contributing to a legally authorized execution. Physicians are fundamentally healers dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so. The knowledge and skill of physicians must only be used for care, compassion and healing. To have the state mandate that physician skills be turned against a human being undermines a basic ethical foundation of medicine – first, do no harm.

The American Medical Association is troubled by continuous refusal of states to acknowledge the ethical obligations of physicians that strictly prohibit involvement in capital punishment. The AMA's policy is clear and unambiguous – requiring physicians to participate in executions violates their oath to protect lives and introduces deep ambiguity into the very definition of medical care.

Oklahoma and other states that continue to authorize lethal injections must honor the well-established principle of medical ethics that prohibits physician participation in capital punishment."

Ardis Dee Hoven, MD
Chair of the World Medical Association
"State Mandates for Physician Participation in Capital
Punishment Violate Medical Ethics,"
ama-assn.org

procon.org

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