Medicalization of Judicial Mode of Execution: A Critical Study in American Context

  • Anjum Hassan1, Meenu Gupta2
Keywords: Judicial execution, evolved standards, medicalization, physician, intravenous lethal injection.


Modes of judicial execution of death sentence have to be determined in light of various objective factors
like prevailing atmosphere of the international opinion, international norms and standards, contemporary
penological theories and ever progressing standards of human decency. Though it’s essential to adapt the
most civilized method of judicial execution, nevertheless, what is more important is how that civilized
process of execution is carried out. History is witness to the fact that how medical professionals have made
invaluable contributions to make the existing modes of execution more civilized, humane and efficient
by playing the most pivotal role. Medicalization of the process of judicial execution through intravenous
lethal injection is not novel. However, currently direct participation of physicians in the implementation
of the death penalty through intravenous lethal injection has become an extremely controversial subject,
initiating voluminous intellectual debate at global platforms. Hence, an appropriate contouring of such
participation is increasingly coming under sharp scrutiny on ethical and legal grounds. The question
arises, will the physicians not be guilty of gross professional misconduct by refusing to oversee the
executions and taking care of the condemned persons in their last crucial hours, thereby neglecting their
ethical responsibility to minimize the suffering and maximize the comfort. Physicians need to fulfill their
role as caregivers by actively participating in the implementation and development of lethal injection as the
most humane mode of judicial execution.

Author Biography

Anjum Hassan1, Meenu Gupta2

1Ph.D. Scholar, 2Prof., Ph.D. Guide, Amity Law School, I-2 Block, Sector 125,
Noida Amity University Uttar Pradesh-201303

How to Cite
Anjum Hassan1, Meenu Gupta2. (2020). Medicalization of Judicial Mode of Execution: A Critical Study in American Context. Medico Legal Update, 20(2), 384-388. Retrieved from