LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - When and if the green light is issued for an execution to begin, a number of protocols must be followed to ensure a smooth process for all parties involved.
The following is an overview of how the state's lethal injection procedure is designed to work:
1. The executioner enters the chamber prior to the inmate's scheduled time of execution.
2. The executioner inspects what's called the "injection drug box," ensuring all chemicals are accounted for.
3. The gurney is positioned so the deputy director and executioner can directly see the inmate's face and the IV infusion site.
4. Then the gurney is in place, the condemned inmate is brought in and strapped down.
5. The IV team -- who are licensed and have at least two years experience -- then inserts two IV bags containing normal saline.
6. When the flow is secure and safe, the warden gives the green light to proceed.
7. The IV team first administers two syringes containing 250 milligrams of midazolam, a sedative that is supposed to make the inmate unconscious.
7a. If the inmate is not unconscious, back-up syringes of midazolam and saline will be given in a secondary infusion site.
8. There will then be a five-minute waiting period, at which point the deputy director will confirm the inmate is unconscious.
9. Once it's been determined that the inmate is unconscious, the second drug will be administered -- two syringes containing 50 milligrams of vecuronium bromide, a paralytic.
10. Then comes the third and final drug, two syringes of 120 milliequivalents of potassium chloride will begin to flow, ultimately causing the inmate's heart to stop.