Doctors in North Carolina are no longer
permitted to participate in executions.
The board's action is largely symbolic because state law
requires a physician to be present at all executions. The board
won't discipline a doctor for just being present.
Doctor Art McCulloch says the board wouldn't expect
a doctor observing an execution to correct any procedures if
something went wrong with the process.
But McCulloch and board member Doctor George Saunders III say a
doctor could help an inmate with anxiety or other problem before
the execution without running afoul of the policy.
Under the proposed policy, a doctor's participation in capital
punishment is considered a departure from the ethics of the medical
profession. In North Carolina, a doctor and a nurse employed by the
prison system attend executions.
The American Medical Association policy says even attending or
observing an execution as a physician is a breach of ethics.