Execution by lethal injection branded inhumane


Animals are treated more humanely than people who are executed by lethal injection in the US. Many prisoners may be conscious and suffer severe pain, post-mortems suggest. Since 1976, the US has killed 788 people by lethal injection. This typically involves injecting sodium thiopental to induce anaesthesia, pancuronium bromide to relax muscles and finally potassium chloride to stop the heart. Post-mortem blood levels of sodium thiopental in 49 executed prisoners revealed that 43 had levels lower than those required during surgery. Of these, 21 may have been conscious when the potassium chloride was injected (The Lancet, vol 365,
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