USA Today: Why I’m for a moratorium on lethal injections

As an anesthesiologist, my job is to save lives, not to take them.

Joel Zivot 5:32 p.m. EST December 15, 2013

I am an anesthesiologist, and I possess the knowledge on how to render any person unconscious. You may call it sleep, but it is nothing of the sort.

I learned my craft with the use of sodium thiopental, a drug in the barbiturate class. To witness it for the first time, to watch as it raced into a vein, and in a moment, rendered the patient unconscious, was nothing short of astounding. In those moments, my job was to be reassuring and comforting, for I can imagine no greater moment of trust between a doctor and a patient.

Sodium thiopental is no longer in my pharmacology toolbox. Hospira, the last company to manufacture the drug, stopped making it to protest its use in carrying out the death penalty.