Autopsy Shows John Grant Suffered Pulmonary Edema and Intramuscular Hemorrhage and Aspirated Vomit During Oklahoma Execution

Feb. 14, 2022 Autopsy results for an Oklahoma death-row prisoner whose execution state officials claimed “was carried out … without complication” have confirmed eyewitness reports that John Grant likely suffered a torturous death. The autopsy, conducted by Tulsa Medical Examiner Jeremy Shelton, M.D., the morning after Grant was executed on October 28, 2021, revealed that Grant suffered pulmonary edema and intramuscular hemorrhaging, and aspirated on his vomit as a result of the lethal injection.

The autopsy findings indicate that Grant’s lungs were “heavy” with fluid, suggesting that he experienced “flash pulmonary edema,” a swift build-up of fluid that creates a feeling of suffocation or drowning that experts have likened to waterboarding. An NPR analysis of autopsies of more than 200 prisoners executed by lethal injection found that pulmonary edema was noted in 84% of the autopsies and was even more ubiquitous in multi-drug executions involving the drug midazolam. Oklahoma’s three-drug execution protocol uses a combination of midazolam and the paralytic drug vecuronium bromide, followed by the drug potassium chloride to stop the prisoner’s heart.



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