Darryl Durr: Too allergic to die argument fails to stop execution

Photo of the type of strap-down table used by prisons when administering lethal injections to death row inmates. Darryl Durr, a convicted kidnapper, rapist and murderer, was put to death via injection in spite of the fact that he complained that he was allergic to the anesthesia used.

Convicted rapist and murderer Darryl Durr was executed via lethal injection, despite his complaints of being allergic to the anesthesia. (Photo: Flickr)

Darryl Durr, 46, was convicted of raping and murdering 16-year-old Angel Vincent in 1988. According to ABC News, the death row inmate’s counsel attempted to appeal his impending execution, claiming that his anesthesia allergy made him “too allergic to die.” However, Ohio District Court Judge Gregory Frost “ruled there wasn’t enough evidence given that the allergy could in fact impact the execution.” Darryl Durr was put to death via lethal injection today at 10:36 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and no complications were reported.

Darryl Durr clenched fists and grimaced for 10 seconds

While Darryl Durr’s defense will no doubt take that to mean that he was suffering an allergic reaction and that the process amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, no violent reaction such as seizure or vomiting was reported. An 800-page medical history alleged that Darryl Durr had an allergy to thiopental sodium – what Ohio uses for lethal injection – and hence Durr’s attorney Kathleen McGarry wanted to ensure that that drug would not be used for Darryl Durr’s execution. Sources indicate that Darryl Durr had been given the anesthetic hydromorphone before for surgeries, without negative effects. Hydromorphone is Ohio’s backup lethal injection drug.

“One of the things the Ohio Constitution guarantees is that he has a quick and painless execution,” McGarry told the Associated Press.

Allergic reaction after loss of consciousness

Columbia University Medical Center anesthesiologist Mark Heath gave testimony via e-mail regarding thiopental sodium. Heath’s e-mail supported of Darryl Durr’s appeal, but Judge Frost found that it contributed to speculation rather than evidence. Testimony from state expert Prof. Mark Dershwitz suggested that “the worst type of allergic reaction to anesthesia would result in death from low blood pressure and impaired breathing.” Then he went on to say that “Such effects are irrelevant in the context of an execution because they would occur after the inmate loses consciousness and because the intent is to bring about a rapid death,” reports ABC News.

The first lethal injection allergy appeal on record

Convicted killer Richard Cooey had previously attempted a “too fat to die” argument without success, says CNN. Cooey claimed that his veins were too weak, making lethal injection would be cruel and unusual punishment. That’s the only case that is close to that of Darryl Durr. Apparently, one can be neither too fat nor too allergic to die.

(Photo Credithttp://www.flickr.com/photos/publik15/ / CC BY 2.0)

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