Suppose you as a private citizen were told by a judge that you had to be a member of a firing squad. An organization of doctors feels a federal judge in Missouri has put its members in that kind of position. A federal judge has told the corrections department not to hold any more executions until a state licensed anesthesiologist can be involved–to make sure the inmate being killed is rendered so unconscious by the first drug given that he will not feel the painful and fatal next two drugs. The President of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Doctor Orin Guidry, has urged Missouri anesthesiologists to refuse to take part because their participation would violate American Medical Association ethics. The judge’s order indicates he thinks medical expertise is needed to make sure executions are conducted humanely. Guidry tells the Missourinet he recognizes the conflict—if doctors refuse to take part because of ethical considerations, the judge’s concept of humane execution which requires medical expertise cannot be realized….But he thinks the state can find the expertise it needs without putting anesthesiologists in an ethical situation if the state looks hard enough. Guidry says the society has not considered what should happen to an anesthesiologist who does play a role in an execution. But he does think the society would file a lawsuit if a judge orders an anesthesiologist to help execute a risoner. The corrections department has used a surgeon in the past—despite American Medical Association standards that say doctors should not be involved. That persons name has been kept secret. The judge says the department can no longer use the surgeon but must use an anesthesiologist instead.
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