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Why Do They Sterilize The Needles For Lethal Injections? – ‘The Why’

Welcome to the latest edition of The Why.

Everywhere you look the media is pushing you telling you who to follow, what to watch and when to watch it.   You’re even sometimes told how to do it all.  Truth is, here at American Live Wire we do a bit of that too.  The big difference is we also tell you why.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

“Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections?” you ask? Good question. Before we discuss the answer let’s make sure we are all on the same page.

“Lethal injection” is not the name of an early Mel Gibson movie franchise or the title of the latest snuff film going viral on the underbelly of YouTube. Lethal injection is this case refers to the infamous form of execution. So if the lethal injection to which we are referring is intended to end the life of a convicted murderer why do the folks in charge concern themselves with an alcohol swab and a sterile needle?

sterilize the needles

Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections?/ Image: WVUT

Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections? Is a condemned prisoner getting an infection really a cause for concern? Yeah, it is and we’re happy to report it isn’t a PC thing either.

As someone on the internet previously pointed out, everyone has seen a film or TV show where a man is about to be executed and is suddenly saved by a last minute phone call from “the governor.” Art imitates life. This really happens sometimes.

Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections? They sterilize the needles because sometimes convicts get pardoned or have their sentences delayed. If a needle is not sterilized and the prisoner gets a stay of execution or is pardoned because the real killer was found then it wouldn’t do for him to end up with a nasty infection from a dirty needle.

If a pardoned prisoner got an infection and died then the state would be vulnerable to a wrongful death lawsuit. Since delays and stays are not uncommon they “follow proper procedure” just in case. As one internet source noted if things are not done professionally the condemned man struggles the needle could even wind up in any of the attending prison staff and they certainly don’t deserve to be stuck with an infected needle.

Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections? There is yet another reason for sterilization procedures. When one swabs an arm the alcohol does something to the skin that allows medical professionals to more easily locate a vein.

Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections? Now you know.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.