Mr. Ryan justified the use of repeated doses of the drugs by citing a state law authorizing “an intravenous injection of substance or substances in lethal quantity sufficient to cause death.”
Medical experts said the amount of the drugs used in Mr. Wood’s execution was unprecedented and its effect unknown. Joel Zivot, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and surgery at Emory University Hospital, said there was inherent danger in repurposing drugs “designed to treat patients, to cure diseases,” because there was no dosage “indicated or prescribed as having the intent to kill.”
“They’re making this up as they go along,” Dr. Zivot said in a telephone interview.
Dr. Zivot said that midazolam acts “like a key in a lock,” attaching to a receptor in the body and causing sedation. Once the receptor is saturated, he said, “it doesn’t matter if you give the person 500 additional doses or five million doses. It won’t have any more effect.”