AZ Inmate Given 15 x Recommended Drug Dosages

Records released in Arizona's botched 2 hour execution show inmate Joseph Wood was injected with 15 times the amount of lethal injection drugs called for by Arizona's death protocol.

“The Arizona execution protocol explicitly states that a prisoner will be executed using 50 milligrams of hydromorphone and 50 milligrams of midazolam,” Dale A. Baich, one of the lawyers who represented Mr. Wood, said in a statement.

...Mr. Wood was injected with 750 milligrams of hydromorphone and 750 milligrams of midazolam in all.

It was expected that Wood would be dead in 10 minutes. It took almost 2 hours. [More...]

While an outside investigator is being sought to conduct the inquiry into what went wrong, Charles Ryan, the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections is still defending the execution:

Mr. Ryan justified the use of repeated doses of the drugs by citing a state law authorizing “an intravenous injection of substance or substances in lethal quantity sufficient to cause death.”

The released records show Ryan personally supervised the execution and gave the order for additional dosages to be administered.

According to Joel Zivot, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and surgery at Emory University Hospital, Arizona is just winging it, making it up as it goes along. Also,

[M]idazolam acts “like a key in a lock,” attaching to a receptor in the body and causing sedation. Once the receptor is saturated, he said, “it doesn’t matter if you give the person 500 additional doses or five million doses. It won’t have any more effect.”

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