independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Killer 'too obese for lethal jab'

Death row inmate Ronald Post does not have accessible veins and cannot not receive a lethal injection

A condemned killer fighting his execution because of his extreme weight does not have accessible veins in his arms or hands and cannot not receive a lethal injection in his legs because he is so obese, a doctor told a court.

Death row inmate Ronald Post, 53, who weighs nearly 28 and a half stone, wants a judge to stop his January execution on the grounds his weight could cause him to suffer severe pain during the procedure. The state opposes the request.

Ohio lawyers had criticised an earlier filing by Post based on an analysis by a doctor who did not examine him. A court filing in Columbus sought to counter that opposition by presenting the affidavit of a doctor who examined Post extensively and interviewed him about his medical history.

It was "highly unlikely" that an IV could be placed in Post's legs and "extremely unlikely" that veins could be found in his hands, Ohio State medical centre anaesthesiologist Sergio Bergese said in the affidavit dated October 31.

Post also had scars on his left and right forearms from a suicide attempt that made his veins inaccessible for an IV, Dr Bergese said.

He said Post reported he had provided some blood samples in the past only after great difficulty. Dr Bergese said providing blood samples was no guarantee that an IV could be inserted.

Post is due to die on January 16 for the 1983 shooting death of Helen Vantz in Elyria. Her son Bill has called Post's arguments "laughable".

Post argues his weight, vein access, scar tissue, depression and other medical problems raise the likelihood his executioners would encounter severe problems. Post's lawyers also want more time to pursue arguments that claims of a full confession by the inmate to several people have been falsely exaggerated.

Post has tried losing weight, but knee and back problems have made it difficult to exercise, according to his court filing.

His request for gastric bypass surgery has been denied, he has been encouraged not to walk because he is at risk for falling, and severe depression has contributed to his inability to limit how much he eats, his filing said.

Press Association

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