Death Penalty

Dead Wrong: The American Board of Anesthesiology & Capital Punishment

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Dead Wrong: The American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) & Capital Punishment

By Dudley Sharp, contact info below

The ABA threatens: "If diplomates of the ABA participate in an execution by lethal injection, they may be subject to disciplinary action, including revocation of their ABA diplomate status." Allegedly, this policy is based upon ". . . a basic ethical foundation of medicine which is – first do no harm" (1).

Neither the "do no harm" credo nor the Hippocratic Oath have anything to do with anything outside of medicine. They never have (2).

The Hippocratic Oath only banned physician participation in euthanasia and abortion (2), two practices for which the ABA has not threatened such revocation.

The "do no harm" credo is specifically in the context of practicing medicine, only (2).

Somehow, in a complete contradiction of the ethical foundations in the original Hippocratic Oath, now, a modern day version of the Hippocratic Oath does allow the taking of innocent life (2).

Interesting. It's, now, ethically OK to take innocent life in medical procedures, but not ethically OK to assist in taking the lives of guilty murderers through a non medical procedure.

Even The American Society of Anesthesiologists agreed that lethal injection had no connection to medicine. (2) Is it a surprise that lethal injection is a criminal justice procedure?

Does the ABA ban its members from participating in abortions, euthanasia or in other actions, such as being a sniper for the military or the police , whereby their job description is killing when called upon to do so? Of course not.

The ABA position appears rife with hypocrisy and politics .

I suspect the ABA is confident their threat will be enough to scare off death penalty inclined anesthesiologists, without the need to revoke their certifications. In the unlikely event that the ABA revokes a diplomat's certifications, under such a circumstance, I am confident that the diplomat would prevail in suing for reinstatement and damages.

The ABA's position is similar to the American Medical Association (AMA) and other medically related groups, in that they are attempting to control the non medical lives of their membership by an unethical imposition of personal bias into professional associations.

The medical groups apparently use only anti death penalty material, as reflected in many of their public reviews. If they were thorough and honest in their efforts, they would equally review pro death penalty material which, among other things, presents strong moral/ethical support for the death penalty (3) , as well as solid evidence that the death penalty is a greater protector of innocent lives (4).

From 40,000-100,000 innocents die every year, within the US, due to "medical misadventure" by the medical profession, inclusive of 500-1000 innocents who die, specifically, from problems with anesthesia applications. (2)

Physician, heal thyself!


(1) Anesthesiologists and Capital Punishment, # punishment

(2) "Physicians & The State Execution of Murderers: No Ethical/Medical Dilemma"

(3) "Death Penalty Support: Religious and Secular Scholars"

(4) "The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"

Additional material:

Lethal Injection: Controversies Resolved

Dudley Sharp
e-mail [email protected] , 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment , he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Pro death penalty sites

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