Monday, January 07, 2008

Physicians and Execution

The New England Journal of Medicine published an important editorial today, voicing its opposition to the involvement of physicians in state executions. I totally agree with the editorial, I don't think it is the role of physicians to facilitate death, whether it is in the setting of capital punishment or assisted suicide (admittedly, a separate issue). The Journal states:
Physicians and other health care providers should not be involved in capital punishment, even in an advisory capacity. A profession dedicated to healing the sick has no place in the process of execution.
The editorial was issued in response to the Supreme Court's decision to hear the case Baze v. Rees about the constitutionality of lethal injection. I am not, in theory, opposed to capital punishment for certain crimes, but I do have a problem with the way it is practiced, because I think there are racial and economic factors that allow injustice to creep too easily into the system.

It will be interesting to see how the Court rules on this important issue.

No comments: