Pysician Ethics In Capital Punishment

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Now, Clayton Lockett is not the first to die from a botched lethal injection. Since “1985…over twenty-five botched executions have been reported, mostly based on direct observation” (Groner, Hippocratic, 2008, 896). Not only that, but lethal injections are supposed to be a humane way to die. In Lockett’s case and in others it was not. The physician could do nothing for him to try to save him so that the execution could take place another day. So what really is the role of the physician during lethal injection? Physician participation serves as an illusion that capital punishment can be conducted humanely. Physicians have no social duty to participate in executions. Yes, those who choose to participate do so out of beneficence, but “if physicians are truly dedicated to helping society’s most vulnerable individuals, the time to show mercy is not in the death chamber” (Groner, Hippocratic, 2008, 917). The focus on physician participation is just one part of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is the ethics of the death penalty. …show more content…
I asserted my own value judgments about the purpose of medicine, the physician’s role towards their profession and towards society and the purpose of capital punishment within American society. Truthfully, the justness of an action depends on the act itself and the conception of justice used. The question we have to ask ourselves within society, is whether capital punishment accomplishes anything and whether “a society in which the government actively subverts core ethical principles of medical practice is patently worse off for it” (Gawande, When law, 2006, 1221). Furthermore, we must question how just is physician participation in capital punishment if the physicians who participate choose to do so act in secrecy and how just is a punishment in which the State calls upon another body or profession to employ

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