Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Troy Davis Case: An Update

Today, the daddy is feeling the Troy Davis case. The daddy has been blogging about this case for some time. But so has the villager over at Electronic Village, an informative and influential blog the daddy visits everyday. The villager posted this update on his blog and gave me permission to post it here. Thanks, villager.

Execution of Troy Davis

As you may already know, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Troy Davis' case. Hence, Georgia Department of Corrections re-scheduled the execution for October 27, 2008.

Many of us believe that Troy Davis was improperly convicted. Davis is Black, and he is accused of killing a white police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savannah, Ga., in 1989. There is no physical evidence linking him to the crime--no murder weapon, no fingerprints or DNA, no tests showing gunpowder residue.

Davis was convicted entirely because of eyewitness testimony. But seven of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis have since recanted, with many saying they were coerced by police who were frantic to pin the murder of a fellow officer on someone. Of the two witnesses who stick to their stories, one at first couldn't identify Davis for police, and the other, Sylvester Coles, was initially the cops' prime suspect. In the years since, five people have come forward to say they heard Coles admit he killed MacPhail.

The Atlanta district attorney sees it differently.

If you believe Troy Davis is innocent and will be wrongly executed, please act now.

Contact Carlo Musso. Dr. Musso's company has a contract with the GA Department of Corrections (GDC) to participate in executions. GDC policy dictates that two doctors must be present to allow for an execution to be carried out. This is of course in addition to the other medical professionals who facilitate executions including nurses that prepare the IVs through which poison will flow to Troy Davis' veins.

Please take a moment to send a letter (sample below) to Dr. Musso, president of Rainbow Medical Associates and ask him to remember his humanity and decide NOT to participate in the execution of a man who may be innocent.

The American Medical Associate Code of Medical Ethics explicitly provide that "A physician, as a member of the profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not be a participant in a state execution." With these letters, we can remind Dr. Musso of his oath to facilitate healing, not killing.

You can fax Dr. Musso the letter on (770) 692-4754.

You can send the letter to him via the Internet: copy and paste the letter in their online contact form

Here is the sample letter:


October 16, 2008
Carlo Musso, MD.
President, Rainbow Medical Associates
c/o CorrectHealth
9020 Peridot Parkway
Stockbridge, GA 30281

Dear Dr. Musso,

We are writing today to urge you and your company, Rainbow Medical Associates, to decline involvement with the pending execution of Troy Anthony Davis on October 27, 2008 at 7:00pm at Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.

The execution of Troy Davis would be immoral and wrong. Almost all of the witnesses against him have recanted or changed their stories and no physical evidence was used to convict him. The courts and the parole board have failed to use their power to prevent this imminent miscarriage of justice. However, Troy Davis' execution cannot take place unless human beings participate. You can refuse to help the state of Georgia put Troy Davis to death.

The American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics explicitly provides that "A physician, as a member of the profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not be a participant in a state execution." We implore you to remember your humanity and respect you and your firm's oath to facilitate healing, not killing.

We thank you in advance for choosing not to participate in the execution of a man who may well be innocent. Such an act would be irreversible, immoral and deeply damaging to the reputation of our state and the confidence in our justice system.

Your Name
Email or Phone Number


kathy said...

hey thanks for posting this, i saw this over at The Field Negro, too.

no weapon,no physical evidence, the recanting of most of the witnesses, i just don't get how this can be happening.

i hate the death penalty anyway, but it burns me up even more that the same people who act all high and mighty about abortion choice, think it's ok to kill an innocent human being.

rainywalker said...

daddyBstrong we all would like to see Troy Davis or anyone where there is question get a new trial. But I have to be honest here, we and others are not in the amazing business. If I were down there I would likely be protesting in front of the prison. It would't be the first time I have protested on the losing side of a winner. But this doctor has a contract with the state and will loose it if he doesn't show up. Him and his staff not showing up will make a point yes, but I can bet you they have already contacted another group of doctors and nurses to stand by in case they are needed. But unless someone steps in, the state has decided to execute Troy come Hell or high water.

rainywalker said...

I got carried away and forgot to tell you, when I wrote "Dray Horse to Liberated Man," I was thinking about the 27th and Troy Davis.

Somebodies Friend said...

This whole case is just really sad. It is unthinkable that Mr. Davis would not at least be given another day in court to prove his innocence.

Thats for the info, I will get a letter out tomorrow.

dudleysharp said...

Lethal Injection: No Ethical/Medical Dilemma:
The Hippocratic Oath and "Do No Harm" have nothing to do with executions
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

Some physicians, medical boards and medical associations have attempted to create an ethical prohibition against medical professionals involvement in state executions by invoking the famous "do no harm" credo and words within the Hippocratic Oath.

Neither reference is in the context of the state execution of murderers.


The select Hippocratic Oath quote, in its original (translated) form, is "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; . . " (1)

is a prohibition against euthanasia and has nothing to do with some imagined medical prohibition of participation in state sanctioned executions.

I am unaware of any other ancient texts or translations which indicate a historical context, with that quote, that prohibits physicians from participation in executions.

Dr. Merkel, a medical historian, writes, "There are two highly controversial vows in the original Hippocratic Oath that we continue to ponder and struggle with as a profession: the pledges never to participate in euthanasia and abortion." (2)

They are highly controversial, now, because they are, simply, inconvenient. The article never mentions a context of state execution of murderers, because the oath has nothing to do with it.

Dr. Merkel continues: "The Hippocratics' reasons for refusing to participate in euthanasia may have been based on a philosophical or moral belief in preserving the sanctity of life or simply on their wish to avoid involvement in any act of assisted suicide, murder, or manslaughter." (2)

Dr. Markel is speculating. What we do know is that it was a reference to euthanasia, specifically. There is not even speculation that the reference had anything to do with the state execution of murderers.

The following are " . . .the results of a study . . . in which 157 deans of allopathic and osteopathic schools of medicine in Canada and the United States were surveyed regarding the use of the Hippocratic Oath": (3)

1. In 1993, 98% of schools administered some form of the Oath.
2. In 1928, only 26% of schools administered some form of the Oath.
3. Only 1 school used the original Hippocratic Oath.
4. 68 schools used versions of the original Hippocratic Oath.
5. 100% of current Oaths pledge a commitment to patients.
6. Only 43% vow to be accountable for their actions.
7. 14% include a prohibition against euthanasia.
8. Only 11% invoke a diety.
9. 8% prohibit abortion.
10. Only 3% prohibit sexual contact with patients.

There is no mention of the state execution of murderers, because the Hippocratic Oath has nothing to do with it. And I think we can all see the tough struggle with euthanasia and abortion.

Furthermore, it is hard to find a credible ethical core, when only 43% of those medical institutions and their physicians commit to being accountable for their medical treatments, while, at the same time, 100% pledge a commitment to patients.

Some commitment.

With these survey results, and with doctors bringing up the Hippocratic Oath, as if it has something to say in the death penalty debate, possibly we should, now, in the true context of euthanasia and abortion, call it the Hypocrisy Oath.

The doctors doth protest too much, me thinks.


The famous physician credo "First, do no harm" (a phrase translated into Latin as "Primum non nocere") is often mistakenly ascribed to the (Hippocratic) oath, although it appears nowhere in that venerable pledge." (2)

"Hippocrates came closest to issuing this directive in his treatise Epidemics, in an axiom that reads, "As to disease, make a habit of two things — to help, or at least, to do no harm." (2)

"As to disease". Nothing else. There is no relevance outside medicine and, most certainly, no prohibition against medical professionals participation in the state execution of murderers.

Those ethical codes pertain to the medical profession, only, and to patients, only. Judicial execution is not part of the medical profession and death row inmates are not patients. Is that news?

The acknowledged anti death penalty editors of The Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine agree. They write:

"Execution by lethal injection, even if it uses tools of intensive care such as intravenous tubing and beeping heart monitors, has the same relationship to medicine that an executioner's axe has to surgery." ("Lethal Injection Is Not Humane", PLoS, 4/24/07).

The PLoS Medicine editors have made the same point many of us have been making - To put it clearly: The state execution of murderers is not equivalent or connected to the medical treatment of patients. There is no ethical or moral connection. Hardly a mystery.

Similar acts and similar equipment do not establish any ethical equivalence or connection. Any rational person can see that the state execution of murderers is not a medical treatment, but a criminal justice sanction. The basis for medical treatment is to improve the plight of the patient, for which the medical profession provides obvious and daily exceptions. The basis for execution is to carry out a criminal justice sentence where death is the sanction.

Doctors and nurses can be police and soldiers and can kill, when deemed appropriate, within those lines of duty and without violating the ethical codes of their medical profession. Similarly, medical professionals do not violate their codes of ethics, when participating in the state execution of murderers.

Physicians are often part of double or triple blind studies where there is hope that the tested drugs may, someday, prove beneficial. The physicians and other researchers know that many patients, taking placebos or less effective drugs, will suffer more additional harm or death because they are not taking the subject drug or that the subject drug will actually harm or kill more patients than the placebo of other drugs used in the study.

Physicians knowingly harm individual patients, in direct contradiction to their "do no harm" oath.

For the greater good, those physicians sacrifice innocent, willing and brave patients. Of course, there have been medical experiments without consent and, even, today, they continue ("Critical Care Without Consent", Washington Post, May 27, 2007; Page A01).

Physicians knowingly make exceptions to their "do no harm" requirement, every day, within their profession, where that code actually does apply. And, they should. There are obvious ethical nuances and we should consider and pay attention to them, as is done within the medical profession.

SEE DO NO HARM: Additional Notes, at bottom.

Justice, deterrence, retribution, just punishments, upholding the social contract, saving innocent life, etc., are all recognized as aspects of the death penalty, all dealing with the greater good.

Are murderers on death row willing participants? Of course. They willingly committed the crime and, therefore, willingly exposed themselves to the social contract of that jurisdiction.

Physicians and medical institutions will pick and chose those ethical foundations which they, from time to time and issue to issue, find convenient and, hopefully, important.

Stop the ridiculous ethical posturing and just tell the truth, as in "Some of us just don't like the death penalty."

Any participation in executions by medical professionals should be a matter for their own personal conscience. In fact, 20-40% of doctors surveyed would participate in the execution process.

There is no ethical prohibition against medical professionals participating in executions. Stop using personal bias to create professional, ethical prohibitions.

It's unethical.

1) Original Oath of Hippocrates

2) "'I Swear by Apollo' - On Taking the Hippocratic Oath", New England Journal of Medicine, May 13, 2004 article, by Howard Markel, PhD, MD, Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School

3) "The Use of the Hippocratic Oath: A Review of 20th Century Practice and a Content Analysis of Oaths Administered in Medical Schools in the U.S. and Canada in 1993." by Robert D. Orr, M.D. and Norman Pang, M.D.


DO NO HARM: Additional Notes:

40,000 to 100,000 innocents die, every year, in the US because of medical misadventure or improper medical treatment. (4)

It appears that some 500-1000 innocent patients die, every year, in the US, due to some type of medical misadventure, with anesthesia. (4)

There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US since 1900.

Furthermore, even with errors in lethal injection, those cases resulted in the death of the inmate - the intended outcome for the guilty murderer.

In the errors of medical professionals, we are speaking of a large number of deaths and injuries to innocent patients - the opposite of the intended outcome.

4) "Deaths from Medical Misadventure"at
"Health Grades Quality Study: Patient Safety in American Hospitals, July 2004"

The following is a Dutch protocol for parenteral (intravenous) administration to obtain euthanasia:

Intravenous administration is the most reliable and rapid way to accomplish euthanasia and therefore can be safely recommended. A coma is first induced by intravenous administration of 20 mg/kg sodium thiopental (Nesdonal) in a small volume (10 ml physiological saline). Then a triple intravenous dose of a non-depolarizing neuromuscular muscle relaxant is given, such as 20 mg pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) or 20 mg vecuronium bromide (Norcuron). The muscle relaxant should preferably be given intravenously, in order to ensure optimal availability. Only for pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) are there substantial indications that the agent may also be given intramuscularly in a dosage of 40 mg.

originally written May, 2005. Updated as merited.

copyright 2005-2008 Dudley Sharp - Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.