Early this evening a condemned prisoner was executed by lethal injection in Florida. Instead of the usual 5-10 minutes span from injection to death, this man, who required a second dose of the lethal chemicals, took 34 minutes to die.
Why did it take so long?
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said she doesn’t believe Diaz felt any pain and had liver disease, which required the second dose.
“It was not unanticipated. The metabolism of the drugs to the liver is slowed,” Plessinger said.
Governor Jeb Bush released a press statement reporting the following:
A preexisting medical condition of the inmate was the reason tonight’s procedure took longer than recent procedures carried out this year.
All this explaining is fine and dandy, except it doesn’t parse with medical reality.
The liver detoxifies drugs. Patients with liver damage require much less of a given drug than those with normal livers. If this man had truly suffered with liver disease, it would have taken less time for him to die, not more. The contention of Jeb Bush and the Department of Corrections spokeswoman is flat out wrong. Now, it they had said that this man had an exeptionally strong liver or an overactive liver or some other such nonsense, that could at least have been reconciled with medical reality. But a diseased liver? Never.
It’s a sad state of affairs when government officials cannot belly up to the bar of public opinion and take the blame when they screw up.