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Would you? Could you?

Last week I wrote about euthanasia which got me thinking about another pretty loaded subject, the death penalty.

I read a book about healthcare professionals who work in the prison system and were a part of the team that took part in the executions.  These included the physicians that supervised the execution, wrote the orders for the medications and pronounced the inmate dead, as well as the nurses who administered the meds.  There were some that pro-death penalty, and some that were very much against it.  But they all felt that they should be a part of the event for the sake of the patient/inmate.

Now I am a supporter of the death penalty.  I have absolutely no problem with a person who committed a crime, found guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt and sentenced to death to receive the punishment they have earned.

That being said, could I be the one to inject the criminal and put them to death?  I don’t know.

But what I do know is, if I were the nurse that was in that position, I would put my feeling about the death penalty aside and treat it like I would with any other ordered treatment.  I would follow the orders, give the medications and treat the patient with dignity and respect.

That is what I hope I would do.  I honestly don’t know if I could.

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Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed. Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university. Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.

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3 Responses to Would you? Could you?

  1. Sandy

    I am not sure I could actualy be part of taking some ones life..That said i do not have a problem administering 1-2ml,s of roxanol every 1-2 hours along with 1-4 mg of ativan which is ordered for our end of life patients to ease their suffering..This is totaly different but in a way we certainly are hastening their death.

  2. Cassandra

    I acutally had to do an issue paper on this subject my last semester in nursing school last year. At first I was completely against it, but after doing all my research to argue both sides, I found that I’m for it strictly because of how some to the inmates were being treated. From very bad chemical burns to infiltrated IV sites, the inmates were treated very badly and as medical professionals I felt that we took a “oath” to treat everyone medically equal, no matter what they have done.

  3. Ann

    At least if a medical professional is administering the IV and meds rather than just a prison employee who was trained to to it, the person would be more assured of not having to be stuck multiple times to get it started. At least one of the recent executions here in OH had to be postponed because the people trying to start the IV couldn’t hit the guy’s veins, so they waited a couple of days and did it again.