With regard to the excellent and revealing article by Farber et al,1 we wish to make the following comments.
To the extent that physicians would justify their participation in executions on the basis that capital punishment has a deterrent effect on murder and thus protects life, they should know the current scientific "bottom line" regarding deterrence. There is now widespread agreement among criminologists that the death penalty is not a more effective deterrent to murder than an alternative sanction, namely, long-term imprisonment.2
Wirt DP, Bailey WC, Bowers WJ. Physicians' Attitudes About Involvement in Lethal Injection for Capital Punishment. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(10):1353-1354. doi: