Medical experts look into “what went wrong?” during execution

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OKLAHOMA - After Tuesday's "botched" execution, many are asking what went wrong.

Doctors say there are two things which have happened causing the drug to not go into Lockett's vein.

Dr. Bill Kinsinger, a local anesthesiologist, said, "It's impossible to know which of those things."

The answer will not be known for sure until the medical examiner rules; regardless, something went wrong.

Medical experts who deal with IV's every day say there are a few reasons the drugs would not have gone into Lockett's veins.

Kinsinger said, "Either the IV catheter went through the backside of the vein or perhaps it was never actually in it. Perhaps the needle penetrated the vein but the catheter never made it in."

Kinsinger both are frequent occurrences.

A web site, which records botched executions across the country, records at least 32 others related to lethal injections since the 1980s.

In most of those cases, the issue has involved an inmate's veins, trouble finding them or trouble after the IV began.

As for the first drug administered, Midazolam, Kinsinger says it is well-known.

Kinsinger said, "Midazolam is a drug we use every day. Every person having surgery in every hospital, it's one of the most likely drugs they're going to have."

Commonly about 2 to 4 miligrams is what's used. In an execution, up to 100 miligrams is used.

Another question, if the drug does not enter the vein, where does it go?

Kinsinger said, "We call that an extravation is the medical term we use. It's in the tissue around the vein."

Since Lockett's vein was likely punctured by the IV, there is a chance some of the drug made it into his vein.

However, what really killed him is still not confirmed.

NBC's Doctor Nancy Snyderman addressed that in an interview with Linda Cavanaugh earlier today.

Snyderman said, "Officials have said he died of a heart attack, the only way to ascertain that is to do an autopsy. You can't make that call without examining the heart."

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