Did the La. DOC trick a hospital into supplying drug for execution cocktail?
Hospital alleges that it did not know what the state intended to use the drug for, but also declined to ask
By C1 Staff
ANGOLA, La. — A hospital that supplied a drug used as both a pain killer and in execution cocktails is saying that it did not know that the Louisiana Department of Corrections intended to use it to put inmate Christopher Sepulvado to death.
According to The Lens, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital ended up supplying 20 vials of hydromorphone to the DOC, the same drug used in Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire’s 25-minute-long execution.
Louisiana alleges that a law that states the identities of people involved in executions cannot be publicized extends to drug manufacturers and suppliers. Thus, they redacted the supplier of the hydromorphone in documents shared with Sepulvado’s lawyers.
However, they did not redact the name of the pharmacist at Lake Charles Memorial who handled the order.
“We assumed the drug was for one of their patients, so we sent it. We did not realize what the focus was,” said Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, a board member for the private, nonprofit hospital and chief judge for the Third Circuit Court of Appeal.
“Had we known of the real use, we never would have done it.”
While it is routine for hospital pharmacies to supply drugs to other pharmacies, Thibodeaux explained that they never inquire into the intention for the drug.
“We assume it’s for legitimate and noble purposes,” he explained. “We have assurances from our CEO, who is a very forthright guy, that this will never happen again.”
DOC officials and Sepulvado’s lawyers both declined to comment.
Rather than carrying out the execution in February, the state agreed to delay the execution for six months in order to research other methods. A status conference on his lawsuit has been set for November.
Christopher Sepulvado was convicted in 1993 for the murder of his six-year-old stepson. He beat the boy to death with a screwdriver and submerged his body in scalding water.