Oklahoma botches execution and lies about it

June 15, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers and good morning to all:

Oklahoma botched the execution of Clayton Lockett in April and then lied about it.

Mother Jones reports:

Oklahoma officials initially claimed that Lockett’s executioners had been forced to insert an IV line into the inmate’s femoral vein—a painful place for the insertion and also a risky one that requires serious medical expertise—after running into difficulty finding another suitable vein. They also suggested that dehydration or another medical condition might have led to Lockett’s botched execution.

Lockett’s lawyers retained a medical examiner, who performed an autopsy on the prisoner. Dr. Joseph Cohen’s findings, which were released today, raise serious questions about the official account. The autopsy indicates that Lockett’s vein never blew—because the IV was never inserted there in the first place. Instead, the needle punctured the vein. Cohen also determined that there was nothing wrong with the veins in Lockett’s arms that would have justified using a femoral vein, nor was he dehydrated. Yet he found “skin punctures on the extremities and right and left femoral areas,” and proof that the execution team had tried to set lines in both of Lockett’s arms and both sides of his groin. Cohen also found more evidence of inept handiwork in hemorrhages around the places the team had tried to access a vein, as well as other injuries related to “failed vascular catheter access.”

Oklahoma has suspended further executions pending the outcome of an investigation.

I recall that Lockett writhed in pain for more than 40 minutes before he died and a heart attack was listed as the official cause of death. Makes me wonder what really stopped his heart.

(H/T to Betty-Kath for alerting me to Dr. Cohen’s findings)

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