Last updated on: 12/6/2016 | Author:

Ardis Dee Hoven, MD Biography

Chair of the World Medical Association
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“No matter how one feels about capital punishment, it is disquieting for physicians to act as agents of the state in the assisting, supervising or contributing to a legally authorized execution. Physicians are fundamentally healers dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so. The knowledge and skill of physicians must only be used for care, compassion and healing. To have the state mandate that physician skills be turned against a human being undermines a basic ethical foundation of medicine – first, do no harm.

The American Medical Association is troubled by continuous refusal of states to acknowledge the ethical obligations of physicians that strictly prohibit involvement in capital punishment. The AMA’s policy is clear and unambiguous – requiring physicians to participate in executions violates their oath to protect lives and introduces deep ambiguity into the very definition of medical care.

Oklahoma and other states that continue to authorize lethal injections must honor the well-established principle of medical ethics that prohibits physician participation in capital punishment.”

“State Mandates for Physician Participation in Capital Punishment Violate Medical Ethics,”, May 2, 2014

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Chair, World Medical Association, June 2015-present
  • Professor of Medicine, University of Kentucky College, Apr. 2000-present
  • Recipient, Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 2015
  • Recipient, Distinguished Service Award, Kentucky Medical Association, 2015
  • President, American Medical Association, 2013-2014
  • Chair of the Board, American Medical Association, 2010-2012
  • Secretary, American Medical Association, 2008-2009
  • Board of Trustees Member, American Medical Association, 2005-2009
  • Epidemiologist, Saint Joseph Hospital (Lexington, Kentucky), Sep. 1975-Apr. 2000
  • Private Practitioner, Lexington Clinic, Aug. 1975-Apr. 2000
  • President, Kentucky Medical Association, 1993-1994
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Sep. 1975-July 1983
  • Former Medical Director, Bluegrass Care Clinic, University of Kentucky
  • Member, American College of Physicians
  • Member, Infectious Disease Society of America
  • MD, University of Kentucky, 1970
  • BA, Microbiology, University of Kentucky, 1966
  • None Found
Quoted in:
  1. Is Participation in Executions Ethical for Medical Professionals?