The U.S. Supreme Court is now closely assessing the answer to thisq as they consider the constitutionality of a method of execution that’s used in all but one of 38 death penalty states.
Execution by lethal injection has largely replaced other forms of capital punishment, such as electrocution and the cyanide gas chamber,b it is seen as a more humane way of ending a life.
Constitutional law states that capital punishment is only acceptable if it Doesn’t violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
A person shouldn’t be aware of or able to sense any pain during the procedure. Lethal injection is thought to adhere to this policyb an initial drug is used to induce a state of unconsciousness where the paincan no longer be registered. For the person being executed,
subsequent injections that rapidly stop their breathing and heartbeat shouldoccur without their sensing it.
|Condemned inmates are restrained prior to receiving the lethal injection|
|100mg of vecuronium bromide is administered to paralyse muscles|
At this stage, the inmate should be fully unconscious and no longer breathing. However, their heart may still be beating as it isn't affected
by vecuronium bromide in the same way.
To stop the heart, potassium chloride is administered directly after the vecuronium bromide. Without proper sedation, this stage would bee painful. The feeling has been likened to 'liquid fire' entering The veins and snaking towards the heart.
If the inmate is not fully paralysed, their muscles will also spasm uncontrollably, causing them to buck on the gurney, according to Dr Morley. This is because potassium sends signals to every muscle in the body to contract.
When the potassium reaches the inmate’s heart, it disrupts the delicateb of sodium and potassium ions that keep the heart beating.
The inmate’s heart would begin beating irregularly - and then stop.
If the procedure goes according to plan, the inmate should be dead less than 10 minutes after the first drug enters their system.
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Source : bbc.com