There are many tasks in life that you could be rather careless about—and the end result would not make much of a difference to anyone. But when performing an execution of a convicted murderer, you certainly have to be as careful as possible and follow the strict procedures; however, even in regard to such a difficult and precise task, there could be unexpected obstacles that lead to trouble.
This was exactly what happened after the people who had to perform the execution of an inmate on death row struggled with the lethal injection, thereby causing the convict pain.
Doyle Lee Hamm had to be stuck with the needle numerous times after the executioners failed to find a vein they could use on his lower legs, ankles, or even his groin.
The problem was obviously a pretty major one, and they decided to abandon the execution. The medical staff found it nearly impossible to find a vein that they could use to insert the needle; therefore, they had almost no chance of locating a proper spot before the midnight deadline.
61-year-old Hamm reportedly suffered from lymphoma, and the condition severely compromised the veins all over his body.
He was scheduled for execution on Thursday for the murder of Patrick Cunningham; he committed it back in 1987. After he shot his victim, Hamm stole $410. Shortly thereafter, he was captured by the police and confessed everything. After his conviction, he served more than 30 years while waiting on Death Row.
The state prison commissioner stated that Hamm’ execution had to be delayed due to time issues, but this statement was disputed by a man named Bernard Harcourt—who claimed that the procedure was botched by the executioners.
Harcourt reportedly spoke about the upcoming execution last July and warned that the lethal injection would be painful for the inmate and would be nearly impossible because of the illness Hamm used to have—as well as the fact that he was abusing addictive substances before he got sick.
A couple of UN experts on human rights reiterated the concerns Harcourt had that any attempt to stick a needle in Hamm’s veins to carry out the execution would cause him a lot of pain. Harcourt even compared the pain that the inmate would feel to “torture”.
Amnesty International stated that Hamm’s death sentence should be commuted, as his bad health state may be a reason for a lethal injection to be considered as unconstitutional.
Despite all of these warnings and statements, the US Supreme court decided that the execution should be carried out anyway, after which two executioners made numerous attempts to insert the intravenous line on both his legs, as well as on the ankles.
When they realized that it was not going to work in those areas, they thought that they might find a vein on the back side of the legs. That did not work out either, so their final attempt was to try and find a vein in the groin.
Harcourt later told the reporters that Hamm was in “great pain” since the evening of the execution because of the attempts by the executioners to find a suitable vein on the lower part of the legs or in his groin.
UPDATE #DoyleHamm: "This was torture. The federal courts and the governor of Alabama have just invented ‘wrongful execution.’" Headed back into Holman Prison tomorrow, Sunday, with Dr. Mark Heath to document the botched execution for the US district judge: https://t.co/hA9gr9lBKH pic.twitter.com/2ajcjkbAsX
— Bernard E. Harcourt (@BernardHarcourt) February 24, 2018
Harcourt is certain that the two-hour delay before the state’s official decision to abort the execution meant that something went wrong.
Jeff Dunn, the Corrections Commissioner, stated that the only obstacle during the execution attempt was that they ran out of time, but he admitted that he was not aware of how much time exactly it took for the medical team to attach the intravenous line.
The US policy has a regulation which states that prisoners are protected against any form of cruelty or unusual punishment.
Karon Bowdre, the US District Judge, ordered that Hamm should be examined by the medics and also required all materials connected to the attempted execution should be obtained by the state. Meanwhile, the Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshal is more than certain that Hamm will eventually be executed so that his victim’s family will receive justice.