Lethal injection is a method of execution used in capital punishment. The usual procedure for lethal injection involves strapping a prisoner down to a gurney-style bed. Two sets of intravenous tubes are inserted into each of the prisoner's arms. A typical lethal injection will include three drugs:
- Sodium Pentathol - a sedative to put the prisoner to sleep
- Pancuronium Bromide - a paralyzing agent that stops the prisoner's breathing
- Potassium Chloride - a drug that causes the heart to cease beating.
Death by lethal injection has not traditionally been believed to be painful as the inmate will lose consciousness prior to the death-inducing drugs being pumped in their veins. Recent medical findings, however, have called this into question. In September, 2007, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case over whether Kentucky's three-drug lethal injection cocktail violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution by constituting cruel and unusual punishment. Several other states have postponed all executions until this case is resolved, although Texas, which executes far more criminals than any other state, has not placed a moratorium on executions.
- Supreme Court to Hear Case on Constitutionality of Lethal Injection, Lee Ross, Fox News Channel, January 06, 2008