Ethical Responsibilities of Physicians: Capital Punishment in the 21st Century

By Karen B. Rosenbaum / William Connor Darby / Robert Weinstock / Psychiatric Annals, on 1 January 2015

The American Medical Association is among many medical professional organizations that prohibit the participation of physicians in the physical act of execution. Despite these clear guidelines, debate remains regarding physician involvement in various aspects of death penalty cases. This article outlines different positions that physicians and specifically forensic psychiatrists have taken on this issue. Our position is that given the overwhelming secondary duty related to their physician role—specifically to do no harm—forensic psychiatrists should not use their expertise if they believe their involvement will be used for the primary purpose of obtaining a death penalty.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Intellectual Disability,