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Kentucky releases lethal injection protocol

Kentucky_lethal_injection_protocolThree weeks after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the commonwealth’s lethal injection protocol was not legal, today the state released its execution procedure. Previously the commonwealth had refused to be open about the way in which it kills Kentuckians.

According to the Kentucky Enquirer, information made public for the first time includes the following:

  • A coroner and physician are nearby to certify death. The coroner checks the inmate’s pupils and pulse and the physician certifies the cause of death. Neither is in the execution chamber.
  • If an inmate is conscious after 60 seconds during a lethal injection, the warden shall stop the procedure and order that a backup IV be used in another site on the inmate’s body.
  • If an inmate has not died after 10 minutes during a lethal injection or two minutes during an electrocution, a second dose of drugs or jolt of electricity is administered.
  • Members of the execution team must be a phlebotomist – a person trained to draw blood – emergency medical technician, paramedic or military corpsman or combat medic and have at least one year of professional experience.
  • Each execution costs the Department of Corrections $17,000 [not including the appeals].

According to the news report, “The protocol will be opened to public comment in January. Various legislative committees then review it before it goes to the governor for approval. The soonest a new protocol could go into effect would be in May.”


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