News

UM study suggests lethal injection may not be painless

The debate over the death penalty and whether it violates the eighth amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, has lasted for almost a century. Now, a new study by a Miller School of Medicine research team suggests lethal injection may cause pain and asphyxiation while the prisoner is still conscious.

The study, published in the Public Library of Science Medicine Journal, reviewed post-mortem reports, eyewitness testimonies and execution records from 42 execution processes in North Carolina and eight lethal injection executions in California.

Teresa A. Zimmers, lead author of the research report and research assistant professor at the School of Medicine, said in a press release that the lethal injection procedure requires three different drugs working together to cause anesthetization, paralysis and termination of heartbeat.

She also said that the combination of drugs has never been tested in lab animals and has no clinical precedence.

Leonidas Koniaris, senior author of the research report and associate professor of surgery, commented on the use of lethal injection in a press release.

“The reason that people support lethal injection is because they perceive it to be a humane medical procedure,” Koniaris said. “Here we provide more evidence that it is anything but that.”

In addition, lethal injections are delivered by volunteers instead of doctors or nurses. As a result, errors occur such as in the case of Florida inmate Angel Diaz whose IV was misplaced. Diaz was still conscious after 24 minutes and he had to receive additional drugs before the execution was completed.

Some states such as New York and Illinois have already halted the use of lethal injections due to concerns with the eighth amendment. Almost a dozen states, including Florida, have put the procedure on hold.

Karyn Meshbane may be contacted at k.meshbane@umiami.edu.

April 27, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The University of Miami got off to a dream start, but could not hold on against No. 1 and defending ...

Photo Gallery: UM v. Boston College | Feb. 24, 2018 … Click to Continue » ...

Lonnie Walker IV’s 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining capped a 14-point comeback and lifted Miami ...

March is just around the corner; and University of Miami basketball coach Jim Larrañaga wants his pl ...

Erykah Davenport always hated being The Tall Girl. Every class picture, she was in the back row, tow ...

Student a cappella group BisCaydence wins quarterfinals and advances to the next round in the intern ...

A closer look at the University of Miami's executive vice president for business and finance an ...

The popular Christian minister preached to more people than any other evangelist in history. ...

A vigil on the University of Miami campus, organized by UM students who graduated from Marjory Stone ...

The latest speaker in the popular lecture series at the Rosenstiel School, Jeff Goodell, shared insi ...

Sophomore Evan McKendry rebounded with a dazzling start, and No. 24 Miami handed No. 1 Florida its f ...

Lonnie Walker IV's three with 2.4 seconds left propelled Miami past BC at the Watsco Center. ...

No. 24 Miami dropped the second game of a rivalry series with No. 1 Florida Saturday night, falling ...

The Miami women's tennis team got back to its winning ways Saturday afternoon, defeating Georgi ...

The two-time defending ACC indoor champion Miami women could not make it a three-peat on Saturday, b ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.