It's a controversy with dozens of lives in the balance, with a central question: do death row inmates suffer pain when they die from lethal injection?
A Florida doctor is weighing in to the debate as part of a lawsuit -- he says the answer is yes.
It's the lawsuit filed by 33 death row inmates trying to stop their executions by lethal injection, a case that the state supreme court is now looking at.
Following the lethal injection of Billy Ray Irick last month, the doctor, David A. Lubarsky, says Irick likely endured the "torturous effects of the lethal injection process."
He argues that because media witnesses said Irick was coughing and gulping while his lethal injection drugs were being administered, he likely experienced the "feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating and being buried alive."
But Nashville Attorney David Raybin, who helped author the state's death penalty law, says the Tennessee Supreme court is likely to throw out the doctor's statement, because the death row inmates want it added for consideration now, and not earlier during the original trial in Nashville, when defense attorneys could have asked him opposing questions.
The State supreme court is set to hear Oral Argument in the death row inmate lawsuit on October 3rd, just 8 days before Tennessee's next death row inmate is scheduled for execution