[JURIST] A North Carolina State Senator proposed a bill [text] Thursday that will protect doctors who assist in executions [JURIST news archive] from disciplinary actions. Senate Bill 114, filed by Republican State Senator Phil Berger [official website], will shield health care professionals including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists from
any disciplinary or corrective measures by any board, commission, or other authority created by the State or governed by State law which oversees or regulates the practice of health care professionals.The bill also says that administration of a lethal injection is not construed to be the practice of medicine.
Last month the North Carolina Medical Board [official website] changed their capital punishment policy [text], saying "physician participation in capital punishment is a departure from the ethics of the medical profession." The new policy threatens participating doctors with the loss of their license. In response, a North Carolina judge last month issued an injunction blocking two executions [JURIST report] until Gov. Mike Easley [official website] issues new procedures to execute capital defendants without the presence of doctors. Earlier, Democrats in the North Carolina legislature had also called for the suspension of all executions [JURIST report], saying in a letter to Gov. Easley [DOC text] that a moratorium was required because of increasing evidence that North Carolina's execution procedure could cause prisoners "undue and excruciating pain." AP has more.