Caught between a legal requirement to avoid cruelty, and its desire to kill prisoners, the state of Ohio is struggling to find an acceptable method of execution following the botched, and failed, attempt to put Romell Broom to death on September 15. As reported in today’s New York Times, the method the state has chosen is injection into the vein of a single, lethal dose of anesthetic. This seems peculiar, since it was failure to find a suitable vein that led to the botched executions of Joseph Clark and Christopher Newton, as well as the recent Broom fiasco.
In the new Ohio protocol, another alternative, intramuscular injection, is available as a backup. This method has not been used before, but was given the thumbs up by Massachusetts anesthesiologist Dr. Mark Dershwitz, the one doctor in America who seems willing to help states kill prisoners. A local Ohio doctor, Jonathan Groner, seems to disagree, suggesting that legal challenges are far from over. “In the end this is still about killing people.”
It is indeed, and if this protocol proves acceptable to Ohio and federal courts, the lethal injection of Kenneth Biros and others could be back on schedule (the stay of Biros’ December 8 date is only temporary), and Ohio’s one-a-month assembly line of executions could be back in business.