Taxpayers Pay for Expensive Surgery to Keep Death Row Inmate Alive

In 1999, a Pakistani couple living in St. Clairsville, Ohio were having marital problems and their divorce was pending.  Dr. Lubiana Bhatti Ahmed feared her husband and had asked her 78 year old father to come down from Canada and stay with her for a while.  In early September, Lubiana and her father, Abdul Majid Bhatti went to the nearest airport to pick up her 35 year old sister, Ruhie Almed and her 2 year old daughter Nasira Ahmed.

Not long after returning to her home, Lubiana, her father, sister and niece were brutally attacked and murdered by her estranged husband, Nawaz Ahmed, 44.  All four victims were found to have severe head trauma and their throats cut.  Police immediately put out an all-points bulletin for Nawaz.  Several hours after the APB had been issued, he was identified by US Customs officials at Kennedy International Airport in New York where he was ticketed for a flight back to his homeland of Pakistan.  He was accompanied by his two sons, ages 7 and 4.  He was detained and eventually returned to Ohio to stand trial for four counts of murder.

In 2001, Nawaz was found guilty of the four murders and given the death sentence.  He was initially scheduled to be executed in November 2004, but received a stay because he still had several appeals left. In 2006, Nawaz filed an appeal claiming that he suffered from vertigo and confusion at the time of the slayings, but those appeals were denied.   Seems like a curious appeal since he had enough clarity to plan his escape back to his native Pakistan.

Nawaz has exhausted his appeal process and is awaiting his execution.  The only thing that can save him is a reprieve from the governor.  However, before the state of Ohio will insert the deadly IV needle into his arm, Nawaz was administered a lifesaving IV needle.  Under Ohio law, the state must provide medical treatment for all inmates and it seems that Nawaz needed bypass surgery.

He was transported to Ohio State University’s Ross Heart Hospital, where he underwent open heart surgery for the bypass procedure.  The Ohio Department of Corrections is not saying how much the surgery cost, but unofficial reports place the cost to be over $100,000.

In a time when states are facing budget shortfalls and having to cut programs and staff, Ohio taxpayers shelled out over $100,000 to keep Nawaz Ahmed alive so he can be properly executed.  In fact, the Ohio Department of Corrections reported that it spend $188 million on healthcare for inmates just last year.

This just doesn’t make sense to me.  If the guy has exhausted his appeals and is scheduled to be executed and develops the need for life saving surgery, then why not just carry out the execution a few months early?  Why waste over $100,000 of taxpayer money for someone who’s scheduled to die soon anyway?  If he had a life sentence, then I could see the reasoning, but in this case, I believe that was a complete waste of taxpayer money.