Last updated on: 2/5/2009 | Author:

Bruce E. Ellerin, MD, JD Biography

Associate Doctor of Oncology Radiation at Sierra Providence Health Network (SPHN)
Pro to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“Accepting capital punishment in principle means accepting it in practice, whether by the hand of a physician or anyone else. If one approves of capital punishment in principle (as I do), then one must accept its practical consequences. If one finds the practice too brutal, one must either reject it in principle or seek to mitigate its brutality. If one chooses the latter option, then the participation of physicians seems more humane than delegating the deed to prison wardens, for by condoning the participation of untrained people who could inflict needless suffering that we physicians might have prevented, we are just as responsible as if we had inflicted the suffering ourselves. The AMA [American Medical Association] position should be changed either to permit physician participation or to advocate the abolition of capital punishment. The hypocritical attitude of ‘My hands are clean — let the spectacle proceed’ only leads to needless human suffering.”

Response Letter to the New England Journal of Medicine regarding an article titled “When Law and Ethics Collide — Why Physicians Participate in Executions,” written by Atul Gawande, MD.

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Associate Doctor, Oncology Radiation, Sierra Providence Health Network (SPHN), 2007-present
  • Former Professor, New York University School of Medicine
  • Former Associate Doctor, Cornell University Medical Center
  • Former Associate Doctor, University of North Carolina Hospital
  • MD, Oncology and Radiology, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill school of Medicine, 2000
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Is Participation in Executions Ethical for Medical Professionals?