The Champion

June 2010 , Page 38 

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Should Medical Professionals Participate in Executions?

By Charles Van Der Horst MD

Physicians should be concerned about the possibility that a prisoner is not guilty. There have been too many innocent people released from death row for us to feel comfortable in assisting with executions.
Charles Van Der Horst MD 

For physicians, life is relatively simple. We face complicated diagnostic dilemmas on a daily basis and sleepless nights worrying about our patients. We don’t worry about whether the patient has insurance, is an illegal alien, or even possibly a murderer. We do not have to like patients; we simply have to take care of them to the best of our abilities. A good physician also demands 100 percent accuracy, anxiety rising if a diagnostic test falls short of that standard. We worry about the 10 percent of patients with the disease that the test will miss.

This rather simplistic view of our duties arises in part from those ancient oaths that all physicians take upon graduation from medical school:

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor wil

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