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Medical Aspects of Capital Punishment Executions

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 47 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 847-851
Arif Khan M.D.; Robyn M. Leventhal B.A.
Date Published
July 2002
5 pages
This article discusses medical aspects of capital punishment executions.
Between 1976 and the middle of 2001, approximately 718 human executions occurred in the United States (a small segment of worldwide executions). Data regarding the medical aspects of these executions were not readily available. Of the five methods of execution used (lethal injection, lethal gas, electrocution, hanging, and firing squad), significant differences emerged as measured by rate of complications, duration of time spent by the condemned in the "death chamber," as well as duration of time from the onset of execution procedures to pronouncement of death. These data suggest that human executions are difficult to carry out and are associated with significant physical complications. Tables, figure, references