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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Painful Injection

One of the most annoying things about being in a hospital was the constant jabbing of my veins. First thing they do after putting you in one of those silly backless gowns in set up an Intravenous line to provide saline and for convenience when they have to inject drugs or whatever else they can think of into your veins.

Then they come around to stick you in other veins in order to draw blood for testing. This is done at the apex of inconvenience: when you have finally dozed off, or when you have managed the pain of the everpresent I/V needle.

And then it so happens that I have an apparently genetic problem that the nurses call "Rolling Veins". My mother and sister shared this trait. The vein walls are particularly firm, and when the needle tries to enter, the vein rolls away and resists puncturing. This is very painful as the nurse jabs, prods, pokes. Blood clots under the skin form and throb.

So it is with this vivid memory that I read today of the attempted lethal injection execution of a murderer in Ohio. For almost two and a half hours, the workers (I won't call them doctors or nurses) tried to find a vein that would accept the cocktail of drugs that were intended to kill this guy.

Finally Ohio's governor called Time Out and rescheduled the execution for a week later. Cries of "double jeopardy" and "cruel and unusual punishment" are likely to fail, although the status of lethal injection as a "humane" form of execution is likely to suffer some humiliation.

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