The Role Of The Physician During Lethal Injection Essay

1576 Words Nov 16th, 2016 7 Pages
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. This leads me to the ethics of physician participation in lethal injections. Within the biomedical principle of respect for persons (or respect for autonomy) is the concepts of dignity and a person freely choosing their own life path. Regarding this principle, condemned inmates have diminished autonomy. Due to the fact that they (1) do not have the liberty to act freely and (2) do not act with agency (Beauchamp, 2009, 100). As I have said, the…

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