Dr. Joel Zivot, a trained anesthesiologist who teaches at Emory University School of Medicine, has studied the deaths of 200 death row inmates to research the process of dying. In that study, he says, gruesome autopsy reports describe an unexpected, and terrible, injury to the lungs: They filled with fluid.
“So it's conceivable and possible,” Zivot tells AFN, “that the experience of dying by lethal injection, also by the way marketed or represented as a kind of falling off to sleep and then dying, was untrue.”
In fact, the deaths are more like asphyxiation and drowning, which is why the medical researcher publicly opposes lethal injection executions.
The same drugs for execution, he points out, are used for assisted suicide. So Dr. Zivot says he is “very concerned” that what is being described as a peaceful, painless exit from this life is a “painful death” instead.
That scholarly conclusion has angered assisted-suicide proponents but Zivot challenges them to conduct their own research that concludes otherwise.