Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Access Problems

From the Plain Dealer:

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland granted a temporary reprieve yesterday to convicted killer Romell Broom because the death squad team, I mean lethal injection crew, were unable to find suitable venous access for the infusion of the lethal cocktail. According to reports, the team spent two hours jabbing and sticking him to no avail. They even tried the doomed to failure approach of "let's try to get one of those scraggly veins in his foot".

Now I don't mean to turn this into a defense or repudiation of the death penalty. (I happen to be opposed to it, FWIW). But it is legal in Ohio. I can't do anything about that fact. If it has to be done according to the dictates of the law, then is it asking too much for the state to be prepared for any and all contingencies? You mean, no one from the crew noticed weeks in advance that the guy had no veins? Were they all seeing him for the first time that day?

General surgeons are often asked to assist in difficult venous access cases. We hate it, though. Don't let anyone tell you anything different. Putting in a temporary central line is one of those annoying, poorly remunerated, time wasting duties that occasionally falls upon us. Thank God for PICC lines.

My question for the state of Ohio is: Why weren't we prepared for the possibility that Broom might have unsuitable peripheral veins? Why was no one available to place a femoral or subclavian central line? What's the plan now? To refer him to some unsuspecting general surgeon for placement of a Mediport or a Hickman catheter? Or maybe just bust out the rusty electric chair, replete with leather cap and straps, sponge stick bite blocks etc.....

9 comments:

AB said...

Why? Hopefully because qualified physicians refused to participate as agents in carrying out what is a morally reprehensible act on the part of the state.

Buckeye Surgeon said...

AB-
Exactly. And that's the point I was sort of hinting at. If so-called humane extermination (lethal injection) can't be done properly because there are no trained medical personnel willing to carry out barbarism, then maybe we should just dispense with the charade of a "gentle death"; bring back public hangings and line people up against the wall with blindfolds, so the public has to see the brutal state sanctioned murder of another human that the majority so vociferously supports.

Zac said...

Maybe public hangings would be more appropriate. I'm not trying to start a fight, but I also find it strange that we are so worried about the comfort of a man who kidnapped, raped, and killed a 14 year old girl. While I'm undecided on how I feel about the morality of capital punishment, I would say that if anyone deserves a "barbaric" death, it would be this man.

Buckeye Surgeon said...

Im not concerned about the dude's comfort. It's just somewhat amusing that, in our desire to support state sanctioned extermination of an individual, we prefer that it be done "humanely" and "painlessly" via a little sleepy medicine. And that those best trained (docs) to sate our collective thirst for sanitized vengeance refuse to participate, leading to clownshow displays like what happened yesterday...

Frank Drackman said...

Lethal Injections ruined the Death Penalty for me... In Georgia its usually off duty paramedics who start the IVs, big 14 gages if they can get it, no EMLA or lidocaine local either...
Hanging and Electrocution were probably more humane, but its the publics feelings we're worried about not the prisoners...
I like the Jeffrey Dahmer approach (for sentencing, not Diet) 4 or 5 years in Maximum Security until you're beaten to death...

Anonymous said...

Yeah lets kill the F*#%! but lets be sure not to hurt him while we kill him, because that would be bad since we would then be guilty of murder, when we really just want him dead.

-SCNS

DocV said...

What about intraosseous access? It ain't rocket science...

Orac said...

Why was no physician available? I'm with AB. I hope it was because none would assist with an execution it would be utterly against our oath to use our skills to place a medically unnecessary femoral or IJ line in order to assist with the killing of a human being, that's why.

Frank Drackman said...

C'mon Buckeye, what if Jesus had gotten Life without Parole??? You gotta admit Bustin out of jail's not as impressive as a Ressurection...We'd still be wearin Togas and worshiping Roman Gods if it wasn't for those Law and Order Pharisees...
And Rusty Electric Chair??? Don't know how they do things in O-hi-O, but Alabamas "Yellow Mama" wasn't ever Rusty, damn thing was blinding it was so shiny...