In his 2000 Tennessee execution, Robert Glen Coe probably didn't receive enough barbiturate and felt the intense pain of the poison, according to a defense expert's review of his autopsy records. But because the second drug in the process had paralyzed Coe, he was suffocating silently as the poison took effect--and no one could tell he was suffering. That's the sole purpose of the paralyzing agent, in fact: to stop the inmate from upsetting witnesses by showing his pain. It has no effect on the inmate's awareness, cognition or sensation.
The same thing may have happened to Philip Workman in 2007. The state's own expert witness in the Harbison case, Dr. Mark Dershwitz of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, agreed there's "something amiss" if an execution takes more than nine minutes. But it took 17 minutes for the state to execute Workman. "It was remarkable to me when I read about it," Dershwitz told the court, going on to suggest that perhaps the time of Workman's death was inaccurately recorded. It wasn't.
Executioners testified that they are basically untrained and sometimes guess at how to mix drug dosages correctly. A paramedic who's paid $250 to insert a catheter into the prisoner admitted having been under treatment in the past for drug abuse and depression and had been twice convicted of drug offenses. No one checked his background before he was hired.
In his testimony, Dr. David Lubarsky, chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Miami School of Medicine, gave a blistering critique of the state's lethal injection procedures, saying they are unlikely to result in humane deaths. He also castigated state officials for showing "a certain hubris" by ignoring the lessons from executions that went awry in other states.
"...I'm just shocked that this continues," Lubarsky said, noting that veterinarians euthanize animals in a more humane manner.
All this evidence is before the 6th Circuit. Yet those judges are willing to let a man go to his death because he didn't file his appeal on time.