Oklahoma suspends executions for lack of drugs and medical personnel

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 20 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6337
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

The state of Oklahoma has suspended scheduled executions until 15 January 2015 “at the earliest,” saying that it can procure neither the lethal injection drugs nor the qualified medical personnel needed to carry them out.

The announcement came as a physician who took part in the state’s last, badly botched execution was named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit by the prisoner’s family, despite state legislation making execution team doctors’ identities an Oklahoma state secret.

As a drug industry embargo on selling lethal drugs to state corrections departments continues to bite, Delaware, with no executions scheduled, declared early this year that it would cease trying to find lethal injection drugs, and Washington state suspended the death penalty in February. But …

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