Illinois sanctions doctors' role in executions

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 12 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:407

The World Medical Association is urging the American state of Illinois to reverse a new law permitting doctors to take part in executions involving the injection of lethal substances. Dr Ian Field, secretary general of the association, which represents more than three million doctors worldwide, has written to the governor of Illinois, saying that such legislation would weaken the “moral authority of such a great country” in the eyes of the international medical community.

Dr Field's letter said: “Regardless of the decision of a state to impose capital punishment, or the method by which that capital punishment is carried out, no physician should be encouraged to act as an executioner. The method of execution employed by the state of Illinois does not necessitate the use …

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