Doctors’ board bans work on death row

Rob Stein; 3/5/10

An American doctors organisation has quietly decided to revoke the certification of any member who participates in executing a prisoner by lethal injection. The mandate from the American Board of Anesthesiologists reflects its leaders’ belief that ”we are healers, not executioners”, the board secretary, Mark Rockoff, said. Although the American Medical Association has long opposed doctor involvement, the anaesthetists’ group is the first to say it will harshly penalise a healthcare worker for abetting lethal injections. About half of the 35 states performing executions, including Virginia and North Carolina, require a doctor to be present at all executions. Other states have also recruited doctors, including anaesthetists, to play a role in executions involving lethal injections. In some jurisdictions, anaesthetists consult prison officials on dosages.