Although it seems like a ridiculous practice, several reasons exist for sterilizing the needles used for lethal injections. The first reason is that lethal injection is a medical procedure administered by medical professionals, and they are required to follow medical standards to all patients across the board, no matter what the purpose of the procedure. Other reasons are due to how lethal injections are administered and how the legal system works.
A lethal injection is more than just popping a needle into someoneís arm and pushing the plunger. Lethal injection is part of a long and complicated procedure that begins when someone is convicted of a crime, usually first-degree murder, and given a death sentence. The criminal then has several appeals that can take years to be exhausted through the court system.
If all of the appeals fail, the prisoner is moved to an area of the prison called death watch, where they await their sentence to be carried out. The day before the execution by lethal injection, the prisoner may receive visits from family and friends. The prisoner will also receive a visit from his or her attorney and a spiritual advisor, if one is so requested.
In the hours before the scheduled execution time, the prisoner will receive a last meal. The prison warden and a chaplain, if requested, will also be present. In some states, the prisoner is allowed to shower and is given a fresh set of clothes to wear, while other states mandate a medical gown or no clothing at all.
Finally, the prisoner is led to the execution room and strapped to a bed or gurney. The prisoner is then connected to a heart monitor that will confirm the prisonerís death. Finally, the prisoner is connected to an IV drip. The needles used to connect the IV drip tubes are sterilized, one, because all IV needles are sterilized by the manufacturer. They donít make special unsterilized needles just for executions.
The drugs used to induce death are not injected directly into the prisonerís body. They are injected into the IV drip bag that is already connected to the prisoner. At any time before the prisoner is executed, the governor or other state officials may call a stay of execution. If the execution is stopped after the IV is connected but before the drugs are administered, the prisoner could get an infection if the needles were not sterilized.
If new evidence was presented that shows the prisoner was innocent but then died from an infection by unsterilized needles, the state and/or the prison would be liable for the innocent personís death.
Posted 3240 day ago