Lethal injection is a form of capital punishment which theoretically can cause death without pain or suffering.

The lethal injection consists of an intravascular infusion of a sequence of drugs or chemicals.


Intravascular access has to provide free flow of infused fluids without extravasation.


Elements of the lethal injection:

(1) a sedative that rapidly makes the person unconscious, such as sodium thiopental

(2) one or more drugs or chemicals that cause death


Examples of drugs that can cause death:

(1) potassium chloride (produces cardiac arrest)

(2) pancuronium bromide (paralyzes respiration)


Questions that arise:

(1) Is the person truly unconscious? Some patients may not respond to sedatives, as is seen in recall during anesthesia.

(2) Are the lethal agents truly lethal?

(3) Is it truly painless?

(4) Is it quick?


Some people have committed suicide in a similar way, starting an infusion of a sedative followed by something lethal once unconscious.

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