Al Jazeera America
September 2015

Oklahoma: Doctors have no duty of care in executions

In its response a brief filed by a physicians' group asking that the doctor who botched Clayton Lockett’s April 2014 execution be named and investigated, the state of Oklahoma said a doctor carrying out executions is not acting as a doctor, even though the state requires a doctor to do the job.

"Even if some of the actions are medical in nature, it does not follow that doctors participating in executions are engaged in medical practice," reads the response, filed on Tuesday at the federal appeals court in Denver.

The response states, "Doctors who participate in executions do not have a physician-patient relationship with the inmate that is being executed."

"Obviously, we're not surprised that the state of Oklahoma opposed the amicus memorandum that we filed on behalf of the doctors," said Katherine Toomey, an attorney at Lewis Baach, the firm representing the physicians' group, Doctors for the Ethical Practice of Medicine.  read more →