Docs Won’t Help Ohio Kill

October 26, 2009

Health professionals confirm death in 1998 Guatemala execution. (c) Jorge Uzon
Health professionals confirm death in 1998 Guatemala execution. (c) Jorge Uzon

Ohio’s botched and failed execution of Romell Broom, which has led to the postponement of all the Buckeye State’s execution plans – at least for this year – has created another problem for the state.  It seems that when you are doing something morally repugnant, like putting a human being to death with lethal chemicals, those with ethics don’t want to help you.  So, as Ohio looks for ways to improve its ability to kill prisoners without embarrassing mishaps, it is not surprising that they are having a hard time finding a respectable member of the medical profession who is willing to help them.  Killing someone, it seems, is somewhat of a violation of the whole “do no harm” code of ethics to which health professionals are bound.

According to an AP report, on Friday, Ohio’s Attorney General Richard Cordray filed a brief with a federal District Court explaining that “ethical and professional considerations are deterring doctors and others from offering advice about lethal injection.”

Apparently, due to this difficulty, Ohio now has judges, police and lawmakers helping to find some medical professionals who are willing to take their ethical obligations less seriously and give the state the help it needs to resume killing.

Meanwhile, there is nothing to prevent us from continuing to offer our own – albeit unsolicited – advice, that the best way for Ohio to avoid these moral quandaries it to simply stop executions.