1993 volume 22(6) pages 745 – 753

Cite as:
Hillman H, 1993, "The possible pain experienced during execution by different methods" Perception 22(6) 745 – 753

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The possible pain experienced during execution by different methods

Harold Hillman

Received 21 January 1992, in revised form 29 June 1992

Abstract. The physiology and pathology of different methods of capital punishment are described. Information about this physiology and pathology can be derived from observations on the condemned persons, postmortem examinations, physiological studies on animals undergoing similar procedures, and the literature on emergency medicine. It is difficult to know how much pain the person being executed feels or for how long, because many of the signs of pain are obscured by the procedure or by physical restraints, but one can identify those steps which are likely to be painful. The general view has been that most of the methods used are virtually painless, and lead to rapid dignified death. Evidence is presented which shows that, with the possible exception of intravenous injection, this view is almost certainly wrong.

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