Should Medical Personnel Be Allowed?

1480 Words6 Pages
From the time the Founding Fathers held the Constitutional Convention to the (upcoming) October 28th GOP showdown, debate has long been the foundation of American law and freedoms. So, in the all-American spirit of scrutinizing policy, it seems fitting to visit in the societal debate room the ever excitatory death penalty. While the percentage of Americans that oppose the death penalty – 37% as of October 2015 (Dugan) – is routinely publicized, a too often forgotten question is whether or not medical personnel should be allowed to participate in administering capital punishment. This rhetoric begs a debate of its own. As the healers of humanity, doctors are expected to fight for life rather than participate in death, yet at the same time there is an argument that the inmate executed be considered a patient and thus that his comfort must also play a factor in whether a doctor is present at executions. And even further, the mental health of all parties related to the criminal on death row is tied to the efficiency of the execution, and even the doctor himself may be affected by his decision to be (or to not be) present in an execution room. The totality of persons affected must determine whether a doctor oversees executions, just as the good of the majority decides the outcome of a debate. And, in lieu of this logic, it is best that doctors refrain from all involvement in the implementation of the death penalty. Interestingly, both dissent and support for doctors’ presence during execution stems from the Eighth Amendment, which states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (US Const. Amend VIII). Seventeen of the thirty-one states in which the death penal... ... middle of paper ... ...is then striking that many who support the death penalty are against assisted suicide and abortion and many who support assisted suicide and abortion are against the death penalty. There then is more to consider in the implications of the Eighth Amendment than the black and white of life and death. This inspires further debate: is it proper for a doctor to condone any instance of ending life? If a person is suffering in life, is assisted suicide merciful? What about a woman pursuing an abortion? Is the doctor himself subject to cruel and unusual punishment at the hands of an ambivalent society that views some forms of ending life as murder and he the murderer? Perhaps doctors should steer clear of all medicine related to determination of death, just as they should with regard to the death penalty. It is no wonder there exists controversy in this worldwide debate room.
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