IV Issue, Lack Of Backup Plan Cited In Report On Botched OK Execution


Oklahoma planned to execute two inmates on April 29, but the prison didn't have key medical equipment or a contingency plan in case things went wrong. The state's official investigation cites problems with the IV that was supposed to deliver the lethal drugs as “the single greatest factor” in Clayton Lockett's botched execution, reports the Tulsa World. The report recommends several remedies to Oklahoma's execution protocol, including improvements in training, communication, and a backup plan in case something goes wrong. A paramedic and doctor in the execution chamber made numerous attempts to start an IV that night, but most were ultimately unsuccessful, the report disclosed.

After the execution team had pushed full syringes of midazolam, vecuronium bromide and most of the potassium chloride, and Lockett began to “move and make sounds on the execution table,” the doctor discovered an IV placed in his femoral vein was failing. The blinds were lowered, and the team attempted to start another groin-area IV in Lockett's opposite leg. However, the paramedic and doctor didn't have the length of needles that would have worked best, they said, or an ultrasound machine to help guide the procedure. Inside the execution chamber, the team discussed whether to administer life-saving measures to Lockett — but had no equipment to do so and would have had to call an ambulance to take him to the local hospital, officials said. Lockett died as Gov. Mary Fallin was preparing to stay his execution via telephone. Witnesses at Lockett's execution described him as mumbling and writhing on the gurney after he had been declared unconscious from a combination of drugs Oklahoma had never before used.

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