Hospital Says It Was Tricked Into Selling Drugs for an Execution

When Louisiana ran out of lethal injection drugs this year, officials announced the state would switch to a new two-drug cocktail. But what they apparently failed to disclose was that the new drugs had been purchased from a hospital  that thought it was healing prison hospital patients.

According to the Lens, a New Orleans investigative nonprofit , the Louisiana Department of Corrections purchased 20 vials of hydromorphone  from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital a week before the scheduled execution of Christopher Sepulvado.

Christopher Sepulvado, 70, was convicted of torturing and murdering his six-year-old stepson in 1992. Despite several successful challenges  by his attorneys, Sepulvado was finally scheduled to die on February 5—until the state ran out of  pentobarbital , the drug it had been using for executions since 2011.

In January, corrections officials announced they had purchased enough hydromorphone to couple with midazolam, a sedative, in order to carry on the execution as planned.

The two-drug lethal cocktail has been involved in a number of horrifyingly long executions , including the 25-minute execution of Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire, the two-hour execution ofArizona inmate Joseph Woods , and the botched execution  of Clayton Lockett.

Despite the state's significant efforts to hide the source of the drug, hospital officials are now publicly discussing their involvement.


"We were contacted back in January. Our pharmacist here at Memorial, from a pharmacist at the Hunt Medical Center, saying that they needed the drug, hydromorphone, for a medical patient, and at that time we complied with the request. At no time did Memorial believe or was led to believe that the drug would be used for an execution," Matt Felder, a spokesman for the hospital told KPLC TV .

Print this article Back to Top

Stay Connected Wherever You Are