Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1544623
 


 



The Role of State Medical Boards in Regulating Physician Participation in Executions


Ty Alper


University of California, Berkeley

January 15, 2010

Journal of Medical Licensure and Discipline, Vol. 95, No. 3, 2009

Abstract:     
The recent increase in calls for physician participation in lethal injection executions is likely to place a spotlight on state medical boards, the only entities empowered to discipline doctors for ethical violations. This article begins by recounting the history of physician participation in lethal injection executions, as well as the opposition of most medical professional organizations to the practice. The current state of the law suggests, however, that the role of state medical boards is quite circumscribed, at least in the majority of states with death penalty statutes that appear to contemplate some level of physician participation in executions. In order to further determine the legality of medical board action, a comprehensive study was conducted of the statutes and regulations governing state medical boards in all 50 states. The study reveals that only a handful of states – and only seven death-penalty states – explicitly incorporate the AMA’s ethical guidelines into their own state ethical codes. The article concludes by suggesting that, where doctors who participate in executions are doing so in order to relieve pain and suffering, it is not clear that a state medical board should intervene even in the rare instance when it would be legally possible to do so.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 14

Keywords: physician participation, death penalty, AMA, capital punishment, doctors, medical ethics, state medical boards

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Date posted: February 1, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Alper, Ty, The Role of State Medical Boards in Regulating Physician Participation in Executions (January 15, 2010). Journal of Medical Licensure and Discipline, Vol. 95, No. 3, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1544623

Contact Information

Ty Alper (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley ( email )
School of Law
346 North Addition
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-643-7849 (Phone)
510-643-4625 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/php-programs/faculty/facultyProfile.php?facID=5490
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