The Supreme Court in their 1986 ruling in Ford v. Wainwright held that executing the insane was a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The American Medical Association has defined the direct participation in an execution as unethical. On rare occasions, inmates on death row may decompensate and become psychotic to the point that they do not appreciate that they are being punished, why they are being punished, or that they are going to be executed and will die. Psychiatrists who are asked to evaluate or treat these individuals on death row are faced with an uncomfortable ethical dilemma of whether to recommend forcing medications on these individuals. These are the two main viewpoints in this issue.
- Our court system allows for individuals to be forcibly medicated to restore competency to proceed in all aspects of their legal proceedings. Many psychiatrists who are asked to evaluate and treat individuals on death row purport that their recommendations and treatment are to restore the inmate to competency to allow them to participate effectively in the appellate processes which can continue right up until the time of the scheduled execution.
- Many psychiatrists are not comfortable with overriding an inmate’s right to refuse treatment without a compelling need, such as dangerousness to self or others or self-neglect, being demonstrated. When a state seeks to forcibly medicate an inmate with antipsychotic drugs in order to facilitate the inmate’s execution, it is placing the physician in violation of the Hippocratic Oath stating, “Do no harm” as the ultimate outcome is death.
Please choose a position and post a 500 (or more) word discussion post outlining your position
Research literature should be appropriately synthesized into all three of your posts. Several things to note for research literature for this assignment
1.Literature is needed in support of both the your position AND the opposing position.
2. Literature provided as course material may be used in your posts, but will not fulfill the criteria for literature own their own. Students must find outside sources to fulfill the criteria.
3. Students cannot reuse the same information in multiple posts.