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Posted on May 31st, 2012, by

The participation of healthcare providers in executions by lethal injections was traditionally a very arguable issue and, in fact, opinions concerning this problem vary dramatically from the acceptation to the total rejection of the healthcare providers’ involvement in the process of execution. At the same time, it seems to be obvious that healthcare providers should not be involved in executions through giving lethal injections since it contradicts to the basic principle of their work to save lives of patients while participation in execution violates this principle.

First of all, it should be said that the involvement of healthcare providers in executions became traditional because many patients preferred lethal injections to any other form of execution. At the same time, the choice in favor of healthcare professionals was quite logical since non-professional could hardly make a lethal injection as effectively as a professional (Brock, 1999). What is meant here is the fact that the lack of skills can prolong the execution and cause additional suffering to a criminal because of the inability of an executioner who does not have medical experience to make the lethal injection. As a result, healthcare professionals are perceived as ideal candidate to fulfill this terrible ritual. In other words, healthcare providers are supposed to execute, or kill as the matter of fact, the criminal, or patient, as healthcare professionals perceive any person they treat or make an injection to (Batlle, 2003).

Naturally, such a situation leads to the absolutely contrasting interpretation and perception of the lethal injection made by healthcare professionals. The arguments of the supporters of the lethal injection can hardly outweigh the arguments of healthcare professionals who oppose to their participation in executions. In this respect, it should be said that the supporters of lethal injections made by healthcare providers argue that the participation of the latter does not only facilitates the death and minimize sufferings of a criminal, but it also prevents numerous problems concerning the process of execution in the result of wrong actions of untrained executioner who cannot make the lethal injection properly.

However, in response, healthcare professionals argue that their involvement in executions is absolutely unethical and should be avoided by all possible means because healthcare providers are not executioners. On the one hand, this totally contradicts to their professional ethics, while, on the other hand, their involvement in execution may produce extremely negative effects on their psychological state. In fact, on analyzing possible negative effects of healthcare providers involvement in execution through making lethal injections, it is easily possible to reveal the fact that the multiple negative effects of this act may simply ruin the professional career of healthcare providers.

Obviously, on making the lethal injection, healthcare providers are conscious of the fact that they murder a person that can undermine their psychological state and cause a profound depression. Naturally, they cannot work normally in such a state. This is why no arguments of their opponents are acceptable (Gawande, 2006).

In such a situation, the only plausible way out which could satisfy both law enforcement agencies, judicial system, and healthcare professionals is the organization of training of specialist who would make lethal injections and who should not obligatory be healthcare professionals. In fact, to make an injection a person needs to know only basics of healthcare provision. This is why special training of people working in judicial and law enforcement system would make the process of execution similar to the execution performed by real healthcare professionals who should never be involved in making lethal injections.

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