Carl Djerassi (1923-2015): Chemist, writer, polymath, cultural icon
13 hours ago in The Curious Wavefunction
"Nature does not shave with Ockham's Razor!"
"In memory of Luigi-Gomez Paloma"Wow. That was unexpected and an unexpected way of getting to know it. Sad news.
"Anaesthesia during lethal injection is essential to minimise suffering and to maintain public acceptance of the practice. Lethal injection is usually done by sequential administration of thiopental, pancuronium, and potassium chloride. Protocol information from Texas and Virginia showed that executioners had no anaesthesia training, drugs were administered remotely with no monitoring for anaesthesia, data were not recorded and no peer-review was done. Toxicology reports from Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina showed that post-mortem concentrations of thiopental in the blood were lower than that required for surgery in 43 of 49 executed inmates (88%); 21 (43%) inmates had concentrations consistent with awareness. Methods of lethal injection anaesthesia are flawed and some inmates might experience awareness and suffering during execution."What the journal is saying is clear; the procedure seems to be administered sloppily, with basically no concern for the dying man. The fact that the concentrations of thiopental in the blood were lower even than those in surgery patients sounds outrageous, because ideally, the thiopental administered to condemned men is supposed to be at a dosage much higher than that for surgery patients, to ensure the kind of anesthesia that would be considered deadly for surgery patients. But this study shows that it is even lower than in surgery patients, which seems to indicate negligence bordering on criminal behaviour.
"As editors of a medical journal, we must ensure that research is ethical, and there is no ethical way to establish the humaneness of procedures for killing people who do not wish to die..."That is, we have a kind of paradox here, namely that even in the absence of research, it would at the same time be considered unethical to conduct research and "standardize" the conditions for lethal injection by performing experiments, admittedly even on animals.