Nadia N. Sawicki
If capital punishment is constitutional, as it has long been held to be, then it “necessarily follows that there must be a means of carrying it out.”1 So the Supreme Court concluded in Baze v. Rees, a 2008 challenge to Kentucky’s lethal-injection protocol . . .
Lethal injection, the primary execution method used in all death-penalty states, was adopted precisely because its sanitized, quasi-clinical procedures were intended to ensure humane deaths consistent with the Eighth Amendment. But experiences like Clayton Lockett’s . . .demonstrate the dearth of safeguards for ensuring that this goal is actually achieved. . . Nevertheless, states have demonstrated their willingness to continue with lethal injections, and most federal courts have allowed executions to proceed in the face of constitutional challenges. The time is therefore ripe for the medical and scientific communities to consider, once again, their role in this process.
Sawicki NN. Clinicians’ Involvement in Capital Punishment – Constitutional Implications. N Engl J Med 371;2 nejm.org july 10, 2014