In rush to find lethal injection drug, prison officials turned to a hospital

In January, as the date of Christopher Sepulvado’s execution approached, the Louisiana Department of Corrections did not have the drugs it needed to carry out his death sentence.

So the state turned to a supplier that uses hydromorphone to relieve patients’ suffering, not to kill them: Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.

“We assumed the drug was for one of their patients, so we sent it. We did not realize what the focus was,” said Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, a board member for the private, nonprofit hospital and chief judge of the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal.

“Had we known of the real use,” he said, “we never would have done it.”

This story was originally published by The Lens, an independent, nonprofit newsroom serving New Orleans. Continue reading full story here.