Death row inmates have the same access to medical care as other prisoners, right? So if an inmate has a heart attack while being let to the death chamber do they revive him? What if it happens as he’s being strapped to the table? If the inmate is allergic to one of the execution drugs do they substitute another or ignore the allergy?
AFAIK death row prisoners are offered the same level of care as any other prisoners at a prison and the state authorities certainly don’t want them killing themselves or dying prematurely because of a lack of care. My SWAG is that if a death row inmate suffered a heart attack just prior to his execution date he would be treated medically, just as any inmate would, and that his date of execution would be postponed until he was “well enough” to be executed.
As far as the death row inmate being allergic to the chemicals used for capital punishment… how would anyone know that in advance?
One would hope he is allowed to have a DNR order if he chooses.
A bit of Google searching turned up an article on Clarence Ray Allen, California’s oldest death row inmate. Last September he suffered a nearly fatal heart attack, was revived, and returned to death row. He was executed four months later.
The lethal injection drugs I’m familiar with, ok that I’ve heard of, are used for sedation and surgery in smaller doses so a know allergy is not out of the question. No idea how it’d be handled.
I can’t imagine that it would make any difference. They’re giving you an intentionally lethal massive overdose, and they’re worried you may be allergic? What exactly is going to happen to you that could be worse than the desired outcome? It’d be like worrying if the guy being executed by firing squad might lead allergy, or the guy being hanged was irritated by hemp.
But if the allergy results in some bad response, like shock or pain, then you might run up against an 8th amendment “cruel & unusual punishment” ban. I can’t find a cite, but there was a case a year or two ago out of Washington where a death row inmate couldn’t be hanged because he was too fat: his weight might have resulted in his head coming off. Courts ruled that they couldn’t hang him as that would be cruel and unusual.
IIRC, that prisoner died in prison a little while after it was decided he couldn’t be hanged.