The same controversial sedatives used on death row inmates during the execution process have recently come under greater scrutiny in the treatment of the elderly and end-of-life patients in palliative care and those with COVID-19.
Sedatives such as midazolam (Versed), diazepam (Valium), and clonazepam (Klonopin) work as depressants on a person’s central nervous system to slow down brain activity and calm people. All of these are in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.
Such drugs have ranged in use from being administered to sedate prisoners during the execution process to easing the anxiety of elderly or end-of-life patients in palliative care.
During COVID-19, sedatives like midazolam were used on intubated patients agitated by the ventilation process.
“It was used with a combination of medications to try to help people manage their agitation,” said Dr. Joel Zivot, an anesthesiologist and associate professor of anesthesiology and surgery at the Emory School of Medicine.
Likewise, a nurse who works at a North Carolina hospital and requested not to be named also confirmed its use in hospitals during the pandemic.
“Sometimes it was my go-to for ventilated patients so you don’t have to put them in restraints,” she told The Epoch Times.
“It’s a potent sedative used in the operating room or in the ICU or when patients incubated on a ventilator,” said Dr. Paul Marik, who, prior to resigning in January of 2022, served as chair of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. “To give it to a non-ventilated patient would be medical malpractice.”