The American Board of Anesthesiologists has taken a firm stand against lethal injection that could threaten the career of an anesthesiologist taking part in the procedure.
The ABA has asserted its belief that anesthesiologists are healers, not executioners, by saying that the board will revoke the certification of any member who participates in a lethal injection.
Stephen Smith, the new President of the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists, says he agrees with the stance on execution.
“We have no training or expertise in (lethal injection) and we don’t participate in this,” Smith said.
But he does not agree with this move.
“There’s clear statutory support for this. I think for us to take action against somebody who does a legal procedure that maybe we just don’t agree with politically; That’s vindictive and I think it’s completely wrong,” Smith said.
What’s more, he says the revocation of a certification shouldn’t be possible in Missouri anyway. Participants in an execution have their anonymity protected under a state statute.
“The Missouri statutes are pretty clear on the execution team, that it cannot be released, and that no agency can take any action against anyone (on the team),” Smith said.
He also says that statute only calls for some one ‘such as medical personnel’ to be on hand for an execution. He doesn’t think that has to be an anesthesiologist.
“There are plently of resources in text books and certainly on the internet to talk about these types of medications and what dosages (are necessary),” Smith said.
In 2006, a judge ordered the state to revise its execution procedures and consult an anesthesiologist. The matter is still hung up in the courts.