Dr. David Waisel: Execution Drug Could Cause Extreme Pain

David Waisel, MD, an anesthesiologist at Children's Hospital in Boston, testified Tuesday that Florida's planned replacement drug for lethal injections could cause extreme pain in executions, according to a News-Press report.

Dr. Waisel said the drug pentobarbital has not been sufficiently tested to ensure an inmate is unconscious before two other lethal drugs are administered. States are substituting pentobarbital for sodium thiopental during a nationwide drug shortage of the latter drug.

Dr. Waisel said the use of pentobarbital exposes the inmate to greater risk than sodium thiopental. He said the drug is most commonly used as a sedative, and there has not been adequate research into its ability to render a person unconscious.

Dr. Waisel testified before a judge on Tuesday on behalf of Manuel Valle, 61, who was sentenced to death for the 1978 fatal shooting of Coral Gables Police Officer Louis Pena during a traffic stop.

Read the News-Press report on David Waisel.

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