FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky officials heard testimony Tuesday both for and against a new, one-drug execution method being formulated to replace the state's former practice of using three drugs. Here's a look at some differences.
—Three drugs: sodium thiopental, a sedative; pancuronium bromide, which causes paralysis; and potassium chloride, which causes cardiac arrest.
—Backup: If an inmate is conscious after 60 seconds, the warden shall stop the procedure and order that a backup IV be used in another site on the inmate's body.
—Second try: If an inmate has not died after 10 minutes during a lethal injection or two minutes during an electrocution, a second dose of drugs or jolt of electricity is administered.
New proposed method:
—One drug: The anesthetic sodium thiopental or the barbiturate pentobarbital.
—Alternatives: The state may use two drugs — the anti-seizure medication midazolam, better known as Versed, and hydromorphone, an analgesic known as Dilaudad — if the chemicals used in a single-drug execution are not available seven days before a scheduled injection.
—Second try: If the warden determines the inmate has not died from the first dose of the chemicals, successive injections may be ordered until the person dies.
—Notification: Prison officials will have to notify the inmate a week before the execution which method will be used.
—Alternative: Inmates convicted before 1998 have the option of requesting the electric chair to carry out their sentence.
Source: Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
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