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Medical ethics assure botched lethal injections

THE RAPID decline of lethal injection in executions is bringing a welcome end to a sinister era of "medicalized" killing that is immoral for those in the healing professions. When Jeff Jacoby blames anti-death penalty advocates and European pharmaceutical companies ("Thank death penalty foes for firing squads," Op-Ed, March 18) for the elimination of lethal injections, he tactically omits the fact that medical ethics inform doctors not to participate in executions and give cosmetic cover to this brutal act.

That leaves it up to less-experienced paramedics to carry them out. Bungled executions, such as the one last year of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, are tragic confirmation of what happens when intravenous lines and drugs are placed and administered by inadequately-trained people. If, as Jacoby alleges, there was a "broad consensus" that this protocol was "safe", the Lockett execution provides ample proof that such a consensus was mistaken.

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James Doyle
Brookline