Capital punishment is one of the most controversial issues in America and also creates unique problems for the medical professionals who care for persons sentenced to death. An introductory true case vignette describes a death row inmate who overdosed on sedative medication 48 hours before his scheduled execution and was rushed to a university hospital for care. After treatment and stabilization, he was returned to prison where he was immediately executed by lethal injection. This clinical case raises several professional, legal, and ethical issues, including how general medical care should be provided to the death row inmate and how this care might be influenced by the increasing proximity of execution. Presented last are new guidelines for medical care on death row that balance the physician's professional obligations to the inmate as patient against the requirements of the criminal justice system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Community and Home Care
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health