To drop Khashoggi to the floor in the first place, he said, would be easy. A big dose of ketamine—the club drug Special K, administered with the jab of a needle—would do the job. (There’s Pulp Fiction again.) Pediatric patients who threw tantrums on the way to the operating room, he said, used to get sedated unceremoniously in just such a fashion. Once he was out, they could give him an intravenous sedative, such as a benzodiazepine, and Khashoggi would be unconscious as long as they pleased.
But Dworkin cautioned that “it’s not like Mission: Impossible.” Once Khashoggi was out, they’d have to watch him closely. Crumpling him into a steamer trunk wouldn’t be enough. Judging by the shape of his head and neck, Dworkin says, Khashoggi would have required management and monitoring to keep him alive. His beard would complicate use of an oxygen mask. The operation of moving him would be “very tricky,” Dworkin says, “and require moment-to-moment attendance by someone with expertise in airway management. Without that, the patient would likely obstruct or stop breathing altogether, and die.” The Turks have released a list of passengers on the Saudi jets that came to Istanbul that day. At least one doctor was among them, but he was a specialist in forensic medicine, not anesthesiology.