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Position Statements

Capital punishment

 Categories:  Ethics and Professionalism   Adopted: Jan 2007  | Amended: Nov 2017  Print Friendly Version  |   Share this item

In North Carolina Dept. of Correction v. North Carolina Medical Board, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that while the North Carolina Medical Board does “retain disciplinary power over a licensed medical doctor who participates in an execution,” the Board “may not discipline or threaten discipline against its licensees solely for participating in the execution alone.” Since the Supreme Court’s ruling the North Carolina General Assembly enacted N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15-188.1, which provides similar limitations on the Board’s authority to discipline a physician for participating in an execution. Consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling and § 15-188.1, the Board will not take any disciplinary action against a physician for participation in an execution.

The North Carolina Medical Board does, however, continue to take the position that physician participation in capital punishment is a departure from the ethics of the medical profession. The North Carolina Medical Board cites the provisions of AMA Code of Medical Ethics 9.7.3 as an accurate statement of the professional ethics of physician participation in executions.