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View Diary: Oklahoma: First execution tonight botched, second called off (31 comments)

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  •  Dammit. (5+ / 0-)

    My initial reaction: Why don't they just give them morphine until they stop breathing like in oncology hospice with dying cancer patients?
    To be blunt, that's how, um, many of us help our loved ones go when they are near the end. (to "treat pain", with death as a side effect)

    Probably that is too peaceful and blissful death for some pro death penalty enforcers.

    I've always wondered. Probably some doctor knows. Not that I wish them to "end". I wish them not to suffer like this. I've heard many are terrified it will be botched and traumatized thinking not of dying but of how it will go. How horrible now for those on death row especially in OK knowing how this went! That in itself is cruel and unusual.

    •  There's been a lengthy controversy about the drugs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, worldlotus

      used. The NY Times is reporting

      In keeping with the untried drug protocol announced by the Corrections Department this month, Mr. Lockett was first injected with midazolam, a benzodiazepine intended to render the prisoner unconscious and unable to feel pain. This was followed by injections of vecuronium bromide, a paralyzing agent that stops breathing, and then potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

      This combination has been used in Florida, but with a much higher dose of midazolam than Oklahoma is planning to use. Without effective sedation, the second two drugs are known to cause agonizing suffocation and pain.

      Oklahoma and other states have turned to compounding pharmacies — lightly regulated laboratories that mix up drugs to order. Opponents have raised questions about quality control, especially after the widely reported dying gasps of a convict in Ohio for more than 10 minutes, and an Oklahoma inmate’s utterance, “I feel my whole body burning,” after being injected with compounded drugs.

      "Portion of the adolescent prisoners in solitary on Rikers Island who have been diagnosed with a mental illness: 7/10." Tell someone.

      by RJDixon74135 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 06:51:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, what they planned is essentially what we (5+ / 0-)

      routinely do when inducing anesthesia, particularly when we are doing intubations in the emergency department. In theory, it should result in a quick and painless death.
          The difference between the execution and what I do in the ED is, of course, the potassium, which is intended to do the actual killing. That's the step that the Ohio protocol skipped, resulting in the long, prolonged death. The Ohio protocol would be expected to result in the individual being deeply sedated and unable to breath, resulting in a death taking many minutes; even as much as an hour. The problem with the new protocols, like the Oklahoma protocol, is that the appropriate dose of midazolam is not well-understood. The older protocol with pentobarbital was well-established.
          What I would guess is that the dose of midazolam was inadequate to produce deep sedation in this person, and that they did indeed lose the vein during the infusion of the potassium. Potassium is intensely irritating to veins, and administering large doses of potassium quickly is very painful unless the individual is deeply sedated. It would not be unusual to have the vein sclerose during the infusion. The potassium is supposed to cause an immediate lethal heart arrhythmia (a "heart attack.") If the potassium was only partly infused, it might eventually still cause the arrhythmia, but not as quickly as planned. That resulted in Lockett either returning to consciousness, or appearing to return to consciousness, before his heart stopped.  

      -7.25, -6.26

      We are men of action; lies do not become us.

      by ER Doc on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:23:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for the details, ER doc (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, Mr Robert, Hey338Too, worldlotus

        Several reporters are saying that he actually died some time after the execution was halted.

        Governor Mary Fallin, a fubar Republican who in the past  has managed to draw criticism from all sides, is crediting herself for postponing the second execution scheduled for tonight. She's also promising (and many Oklahomans are demanding) a complete investigation within the next 14 days.

        More to come.

        "Portion of the adolescent prisoners in solitary on Rikers Island who have been diagnosed with a mental illness: 7/10." Tell someone.

        by RJDixon74135 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:44:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Neither a registered doctor nor a nurse can (0+ / 0-)

        administer the drugs due to the Hippocratic oath. It is usually a 'technician' who inserts the needle. A doctor is called in afterwards to pronounce the death.

      •  thank you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        what you say even makes sense to me with half of an NP degree (no RN)-it's a wonder why they chose to do it this way and why they didn't or couldn't ascertain deep sedation first. Ugh.

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