From behind a screen in a court June 5, the doctor who devised and supervised Missouri’s lethal injection procedure described it in terms so troubling to a federal judge that he ordered it halted. The doctor testified anonymously that he is dyslexic, that he sometimes confused names of drugs, that he sometimes gave inconsistent testimony. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch confirmed the man behind the screen was Dr. Alan R. Doerhoff, 62, of Jefferson City. Two Missouri hospitals won't allow him to practice within their walls. He has been sued for malpractice more than 20 times, and was publicly reprimanded in 2003 by the state for failing to disclose malpractice suits to a hospital where he was treating patients.
Gary Kempker, who served as director of the Missouri Department of Corrections from 2001 to 2005, said he never knew Doerhoff had a disability or had been reprimanded. When a reporter approached Doerhoff at his home and asked about his role in executions, he said, “Read my lips: I don't do them.” Then he shut the door. Said Attorney General Jay Nixon: “The doctor who administers this procedure was hired and retained by the Department of Corrections. We will continue to defend this method of execution against constitutional challenges. All questions about the qualifications of this doctor would be better addressed by those who hired and retained him.”