Lethal injection was developed by Jay Chapman in 1977 (Alper, 2008) and was first used in 1982 in the United State of America and was followed by China almost two decade later in 1997. Since then, many other countries have adopted this route such that all the states in America save for only one use this idea to execute the condemned prisoners. Nazi Germany however started using this idea as early as in the 1940s (http://civilliberty. about. Com).
During the injection, the person carrying out the execution injects in sequence three drugs which include the 5g sodium thiopental to induce a coma, 100mg of pavulon to cause paralysis and lastly 100 mEq of potassium chloride to stop the operations of the heart. However, it is said from some quarters that the sodium thiopental does has no guaranteed effect of creating a coma and this has led to a lot of speculations on the possibility of those executed this way to have undergone a lot of pain that they fail to communicate due to the paralysis and effect of the potassium chloride (http://civilliberty.
about. com). After analyzing all the pros and cons of this method, I come to the conclusion that it should not have been adopted in the first place and therefore as things stand, it should not only be abolished, but the whole process of execution should be scrapped off. Executions have been around for a very long time: what has changed however is the methods of carrying it out and has since evolved from the firing squad to use of electric chair, gas chamber and finally to the use of lethal injections.
Most countries that still practice execution have adopted the use of lethal injections in their quest to find a more friendly way, since theoretically, this method looks very friendly, causing little pain if not none at all. It’s proponents argue that once the person is paralyzed and unconscious, he/she will not be in a position to feel any pains thus removing any perception of brutality: in cases where the nooses were used, it was realized that when the drop is short, the bodies are left twitching whereas in cases where the drop is too long, the head of the executed persons pop off.
Also, the use of electric chair resulted into horrible smell and burns whereas the use of firing squad was outrightly cruel. The gas chamber technology took too long for the person being executed to die and was also considered too grotesque whereby in one of the executions in 1992 in Arizona made the attorney general to throw up while one of the wardens involved promised to quit duty if he had to do another execution the same way (Weil, 2007)
When the idea of lethal injection was floated, one of its strengths was its cost-effectiveness as a cheaper way of dealing with the people who were judged to be ‘not worth living’ ; construction of the gas chambers required up to about $300,000 while to repair an electric chair would consume an amount closer to $62,000 (http://www. hangmansknot. com) . This looked like an expensive affair and therefore different states adopted the technology with a speed that left others in awe; some states adopted it before Oklahoma where Jay Chapman came from.
This was in spite of Chapman himself confessing that he is an expert in death bur doesn’t know how to make people die; simply put, he did not do any research to back his idea (Weil, 2007). The use of lethal injection has met a stiff criticism from those opposed to it: the use of lethal injection involved the use of a three- drug formula which according to Alper (2008) doesn’t seem to make sense since in the formula was thiopental which was meant to paralyze yet it suffocated even the inmates. He argues that the paralyzing drug was by no means affecting the consciousness of the person being executed.
This allowed the patient to feel some kind of pain but makes him unable to show any indication of the same by either crying out or just moving the body in response to the pain. In fact, he says that the use of paralyzing drugs have been banned in animal euthanasia. It was said that the lethal injection technology will expose those being executed to less pain and quicker death, yet when Joseph Clark was executed, midway through his execution he had to admit that it was simply not working out; also it not only took a little longer to die, about 34 minutes during the execution of Angel Diaz, but he also sustained burns on both his arms.
This could have brought to tho fore one major weakness of personnel choice during executions and improper training of the death teams (Weil, 2007). This could be true because the qualified physicians tend to keep off such activities since by so doing, they are violating their code of conduct to protect lives. This makes the process to be conducted by the wardens themselves with the aid of a few hired labor at the execution site and are guided mainly by the budgetary priorities and the available human resource coupled with the vague death administration legislation (http://www.
hangmansknot. com/articles/lethal-injection. htm ) The use of potassium chloride causes an excruciating feeling of burning in the veins and this beats the argument of painless death. The process can itself be a flop when the executors fail to put in the exact amounts of the drugs, exposing the person being executed to unnecessary pain and torture. This is a possibility since most doctors don’t want to take part so as not to be associated with the inhumane process of taking away of life, which on the other hand is against their doctrines life.
As reported in the Washington post newspaper by Marchione (2007), the lethal injection procedure did not take into account the difference in the weights of the inmates being executed. Some had to take longer time before they die whereas others took relatively lesser time due to the weight difference. Those who took longer times obviously were exposed to pains for extended periods of time. Also, in some instances, the drugs failed to effect the desired results forcing the executors to increase the dosage.
In conclusion therefore, the once hailed execution method that was meant to replace the rather ‘brutal’ ones seems to have it own fair share of problems and this has led to many states backing off from it. Most encouragingly, many countries are shifting from executions and are rather holding onto the inmates until they die from natural causes beyond the rehabilitation centers’ control. As has been observed, it is therefore worth deducing that the use of lethal injection should not have been adopted in the first place as it was a half baked without any trial records to prove what the pioneer was suggesting.
Alper, Try. “What Do Lawyers Know About Lethal Injection? ” 1 HARV. L. & POL’Y REV. (2008, March 3). Pdf. Lethal Injection. The Final Anesthetic. Accessed from: http://civilliberty. about. Com/od/ capitalpunishment/ig/Types-of-Executions/Lethal- Injections. htm). Cited on November 25, 2008 Execution Drugs: Is Lethal Injection Humane? Accessed from: http://www. hangmansknot. com/articles/lethal-injection. htm. Cited on November 25, 2008 Marchione, Marilynn.
“Study: Lethal Injection Method Flawed. ” Washingtonpost. com. The Associated Press. (2007, April 24). Available online on http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp- dyn/content/article/2007/04/24/AR2007042400253. html . Accessed on 25th November, 2008 Weil, Elizabeth. “It’s Not Whether to Kill, but How” The New York Times Weekly Review (2007, November 4). Available online on http://www. nytimes. com/2007/11/04/ weekinreview/04weil. html? _r=3&pagewanted=all . Accessed on 25th November, 2008