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Physician participation in lethal injection executions should not be banned, argue 2 ethicists
Date:6/9/2011

sh to be certified by the ABA." And other specialty boards may follow suit.

Such new sanctions go beyond losing membership in a medical society. "Loss of board certification directly affects a physician's ability to practice medicine and attract patients, given that many institutions and patients will not enter into a relationship with a physician lacking this credential of professional competence and accomplishment. . . The ABA's action creates a significant conflict between the important interest of professional certifying boards in enforcing ethical standards and the commitment of the state to the effective, humane, and just administration of the criminal law," the article states.

Will states be able to get physicians into the death chamber if by doing so they lose their practice? The authors cite the states of Washington and Oregon as offering one possible solution. As part of the Death with Dignity laws authorizing physician-assisted suicide, these states have included provisions explicitly forbidding organized medicine from punishing participating physicians.

Nelson and Ashby support the need for medical associations to establish professional guidelines, but they believe that depriving a physician of his or her livelihood is too onerous a penalty. There are other ways for professional associations to achieve their goals: "If a profession's ethical standards ought to emerge out of a dialogue between the profession and the larger community it serves, then organized medicine, individual physicians, and the people in the thirty-four state that allow or require physician participation in executions out to engage in public debate aimed at reaching a practical and principled resolution of this chronic conflict."


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Contact: Michael Turton
turtonm@thehastingscenter.org
845-424-4040 x242
The Hastings Center
Source:Eurekalert

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