Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lethal cocktail

Allow me to make this article more understandable by organizing it a little differently:

Among the 35 states, U.S. Military, and Federal Government that currently have death penalty statutes, only one state (Nebraska) does not have lethal injection as a primary or optional method of execution. The protocol for most jurisdictions authorizes the use of a combination of the 3 drugs listed below, but states have been facing issues of availability and the shortages have disrupted executions.

The 1st injection is sodium pentothal, a barbiturate that renders the prisoner unconscious. The only U.S. manufacturer of the drug is the Illinois-based company Hospira, but when they moved its manufacture overseas, they were asked to guarantee that it wouldn't be used to put inmates to death. "Based on this understanding, we cannot take the risk that we will be held liable by the Italian authorities if the product is diverted for use in capital punishment. Exposing our employees or facilities to liability is not a risk we are prepared to take," said a company spokesman. Any supply already on hand is due to expire in March.

The 2nd injection, pancuronium bromide, is a muscle relaxant that paralyzes the diaphragm and lungs.

The 3rd injection of potassium chloride causes cardiac arrest.

While Hospira claims it has long deplored the use of its drugs in executions, not only did it regret having to stop production, it continues to make the two other drugs used in lethal injections. Each chemical is lethal in the amounts administered, but by using them in combination, the implementation of capital punishment is arguably more humane. The current shortage of sodium pentothal has affected the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, even those that turned to a British source - until the British government, too, banned its export for use in executions. Instead of following the lead of England and Italy and 93 other countries around the world in abolishing the death penalty, Oklahoma has started injecting the pentobarbitol we commonly use to euthanize our pets.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.