A law went into effect in South Carolina last year allowing people on death row to choose their method of execution, including by firing squad. Last week, the state supreme court issued a temporary stay on government-sponsored killing, in advance of executions scheduled for April 29 and May 13. As we wait to learn whether shooting people to death will ultimately be allowed in South Carolina, a death row doctor is speaking out about the horrific nature and impossible contradictions of the job physicians are called on to do whenever and however the state kills someone:

Neal has now decided to tell his story. He is only the second physician in recent history to talk in detail about his execution role with the press. The silence of his peers is no accident. Doctors like him are stuck in a seemingly impossible predicament: They are required by state protocols to participate in executions even as they are prohibited by their profession from being involved.