When I read that Dr. Conrad Murray, who, as you probably know, had been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the Michael Jackson case, I also learned that he was likely to use the argument that Michael Jackson killed himself with a lethal dose of propofol. He was therefore claiming there is no homicide case – it was essentially suicide.
The article went on to say that additional points in his defense included pointing the finger at Dr. Arnold Klein, Michael Jackson's longtime doctor and friend, insisting that it was Dr. Klein who was responsible for Michael Jackson’s pain pill addiction to Demerol and other powerful narcotics.
Dr. Murray's defense team said that this is relevant to the case because it shows that it was Dr. Klein's actions that made Michael Jackson develop a Demerol addiction. Dr. Klein reportedly injected Mr. Jackson with Demerol up to 51 times in the 3 months right before Michael Jackson’s death.
Personally, I think they were missing the boat altogether. I've been bothered since the time of Michael Jackson's death – and since the beginning of this case against Dr. Murray - about what seems to me to be the key point in determining WHO caused Michael Jackson's death.
There seems to be an agreement about WHAT caused Michael Jackson's death. The coroner ruled that a combination of drugs killed Michael Jackson. Propofol and lorazepam were the most significant.
If you review the following timeline, it’s clear that there were other drugs involved.
– At about 1:30 a.m., [Dr. Conrad] Murray gave Jackson 10 mg of Valium.
– At about 2 a.m., he injected Jackson with 2 mg of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan.
– At about 3 a.m., Murray then administered 2 mg of the sedative Versed.
– At about 5 a.m., he administered another 2 mg of Ativan.
– At about 7:30 a.m., Murray gave Jackson yet another 2 mg of Versed while monitoring him with a device that measured the oxygen saturation of his blood.
– At about 10:40 a.m., “after repeated demands/requests from Jackson,” Murray administered 25 mg of propofol, the document said.
While propofol was the last drug administered, it certainly wasn't the only one. However, it was the one that should never be administered outside a hospital setting without proper monitoring by an experienced, licensed anesthesiologist.
I remember when I first heard of the death of Michael Jackson. Propofol was said to the drug that killed him. I was shocked that anyone would be given or be taking that drug. As a veterinarian, I was quite familiar with the drug when I heard about his death. It is used in both veterinary and human surgery as an anesthetic agent.
Propofol, also known as Diprivan, reduces tension and anxiety, induces relaxation and sleep, and leads to loss of consciousness. Because it is a very short-acting drug whose effects wear off within a few hours, it is used for short diagnostic tests and surgical procedures or for inducing sleep at the beginning of surgery or to supplement other types of anesthetics for surgery.
Propofol is supposed to be given as an injection by experienced, trained anesthesia professionals in a hospital setting with proper monitoring. Let’s see:
- Dr. Murray is a cardiologist, not an anesthesiologist.
- Michael Jackson’s home was not a hospital.
- Mr. Jackson was not having diagnostic tests or surgery.
Dr. Klein certainly contributed to Michael Jackson’s drug addiction if he indeed administered Demerol as many times and as frequently as is reported. Is there any evidence that Mr. Jackson had a physical disorder that would have necessitated his receiving that amount of that drug in that period of time?
However, Dr. Klein is not on trial. At least, not now. And not for involuntary manslaughter and no doubt, won’t be. Dr. Murray was administering drugs to Michael Jackson when he died, not Dr. Klein and Dr. Murray was administering Propofol, not Demerol. How then can Dr. Klein’s actions be used to to help defend Dr. Murray of his actions?
Also in the news today were some rumors about the type of questions prospective jurors were asked on their questionnaire. One very interesting question is "Do you believe patients have the responsibility to tell their doctors about their complete past and current social habits, including use of drugs, alcohol and prescription medications?”
It’s so obvious that the defense is trying to place the blame on previous doctors, but how can anything, including Mr. Jackson’s drug addiction history or prior doctors or prescriptions, justify anyone administering, in his home, Michael Jackson propofol?
Where DID Michael Jackson get propofol and WHO administered it to him?
Dr. Murray's defense relied heavily on the claim that Michael Jackson was a Propofol addict, who hid his addiction from Dr. Murray. For that reason, Dr. Murray claimed that he was not treating Michael Jackson with full knowledge of his drug addictions. It is difficult to believe that anyone who spent any time around Michael Jackson did not see his signs of drug addiction and try to help him stop abusing drugs. It appears that it was SO clear that Michael Jackson needed treatment for drug addiction, and is so sad that he never received that help.
At any rate, Dr. Murray supposedly claimed to not know about propofol. As part of his defense, his lawyers are having a used syringe that had rolled under Mr. Jackson’s bed fingerprinted to find out who handled it.
Dr. Murray insists he did not handle the syringe. As TMZ first reported ... the defense will claim that MJ killed himself by giving himself a massive overdose of Propofol while Dr. Murray was out of the room.
The defense claims that only two people were in Michael Jackson’s bedroom where he died and since Dr. Murray did not handle the syringe, then Mr. Jackson must have handled it and administered it to himself.
If this was the case and Dr. Murray indeed knew nothing about Michael Jackson using Propofol, nothing at all, then perhaps he is innocent. But if he even KNEW that Propofol was in the room and that Michael Jackson was using it, didn’t his oath as a doctor require him to do something about it?
Apparently, Michael Jackson was addicted to Propofol for years before he died. It is said that Jackson "was very familiar with" propofol "and referred to it as his 'milk.'"
There are reports that Dr. Murray and Michael Jackson met with an anesthesiologist, Dr. David Adams, asking him to accompany the tour in 2009. Why would anyone want an anesthesiologist with them? If it is true that Dr. Murray was present for this meeting, is it possible he didn’t know about the Propofol?
The report continues by saying that Dr. Adams thought about it and contacted Dr. Murray to say that he was interested in going on the tour. But apparently neither Dr. Murray nor MJ got back to him.
Dr. Murray claims he didn’t know Dr. Adams. Hopefully, the truth will come out on the witness stand.
- Propofol killed Michael Jackson. The only place for Propofol is in an OR being administered by an anesthesiologist who is using proper monitoring equipment.
- The doctors who prescribed excessive quantities of drugs killed Michael Jackson. How many doctors? Will we ever know?
- Drug Addiction killed Michael Jackson. That’s definite.
Should someone pay? Probably. Michael Jackson didn’t obtain these drugs himself and he didn’t administer all the drugs to himself every time he used.
The courts will decide. However, the lesson that I hope we all take away from this tragedy is to watch for drug addiction signs in your own family, friends, and loved ones. For help, see our page on signs of drug addiction.
If you know someone who needs treatment for drug addiction, do not remain silent. Together, we all need to work to stop drug addiction.