Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Painless Death

Last week the Florida Supreme Court ruled that lethal injection was NOT cruel and unusual punishment. The 6-1 opinion rejected a request for a hearing on the study sought by Clarence Edward Hill, who was set to die Jan. 24th, which suggested that during the process the inmates were still semi-concious but unable to respond to the extreme pain involved when the diaphragm no longer functioned (Pancuronium bromide) and then when the potassium chloride stopped the heart.

I have spent enough time in nursing homes to be able to imagine what it is like to have extreme pain and not be able to respond to it... not be able even to move into a more comfortable position. It helped me understand that there are worse things than letting an older person quietly and comfortably pass... and that worse thing is using medical technology to keep them alive and in pain. I've also wondered if somewhere nursing homes and doctors are keeping people alive for financial reasons (you can't make money off a corpse), but that is a different blog for another time.

While death row is a different situation, I have no desire to place these people in a nightmare scenario.

State Sen. Kyle Janek (Republican, Houston), an anesthesiologist, addressed these questions to my satisfaction. He writes:

It is important to understand that sodium pentothal is given to an inmate 1st to render him completely unconscious and insensible to pain. For example, a normal surgical dose for a man weighing 220 pounds would be about 300 milligrams. Yet for lethal injection, the inmate receives 3 grams - or 10 times the normal amount based on body weight.

It sounds to me as if the Left's version of the pro-life movement, the anti-death penalty crowd, was in this case grasping for another straw.

Update: Our old buddy Justice Kennedy has decided to waste everyone's time and grant a stay. I guess precedents for killing are sacred to liberals only when it involves killing a baby.


jmag said...

Thanks for clearing that up. Just a somewhat poorly disguised shot at the death penalty.

Anonymous said...

jmag, I admit to not fully understanding the point of your post. However, if you are suggesting that Mr. Malott's post was a "poorly disguised shot at the death penalty," I think you are misinterpreting it. He clearly stated that, although the death penalty is a different situation, he has "no desire to place these people in a nightmare scenario."

He then proceeded to explain why, as Sen. Janek describes it, lethal injection is not subjecting someone to a "nightmare scenario," and concludes that the anti-death penalty crowd was simlpy grasping at straws with their latest appeal.

It could be that your post meant that you thought Hill's appeal was just a "poorly disguised shot at the death penalty," but it didn't read that way to me. If you think Mr. Malott's post is taking that shot, I have to disagree with you.

Malott said...

Based on jmag's post on his sight, I believe that he agrees with me in this matter and felt Janek's piece was enlightening.