Friday, February 5, 2010
Michael Jackson's Doctor Charged with Manslaughter
Dr. Conrad Murray, the Huston, Texas cardiologist celebrity doctor to Michael Jackson will be charged with involuntary manslaughter today in the Los Angeles courtroom when he voluntarily surrenders.
He has been virtually underground since June 2009, after he gave the singer a powerful anesthetic (Propofol) and other sedatives that were blamed for his death.
Propofol is a strong anesthetic that is usually given in a hospital, by medical doctors that are trained in its administration and with rescue equipment close by. Also known as Diprivan, it is an injectable that is used in intensive care units for patients that are intubated (on respirators) or for patients that are undergoing surgical procedures where sedation is required. In healthy patients, Propofol causes a decrease in blood pressure, depending upon the dose and the speed of infusion.
Propofol is never given as an injection and the patient left alone. It is a drug that requires constant monitoring of the vital signs and respiration of the patient unless that patient is on a ventilator.
Although we do not know every aspect of the details of Michael Jackson's death from the lethal injection of Propofol, we do know that at 1:30 AM, Dr. Murray gave Jackson 10 mg of Valium, followed by injecting 2mg of the anti-anxiety drug, Ativan. An hour later he gave him 2mg of the sedative, Versed followed by another 2mg of Ativan. At 5AM he administered another 2mg of Ativan and at about 7:30 AM Murray gave Jackson another 2mg of Versed while monitoring him with a device that measured the oxygen saturation of the blood.
At about 10:40 AM, Murray administered between 25-50 mg of Propofol and Michael went into cardiac arrest. Dr. Murray attempted to do CPR while he was in his bed. Doing CPR without a hard surface under the back is ineffective. There are also reports that he waited more than an hour to summon emergency officials because there was no "land line" in the bedroom. He reportedly made three other calls.
The DEA has been unable to find a record of Dr. Murray purchasing, ordering or obtaining any Propofol under his medical license or DEA number. He does not have a DEA number in California for prescribing or administering controlled substances or narcotic medication.
Dr. Murray had a booming concierge practice, jetting off to see patients in New York and Washington and making house calls to high-profile clients in Las Vegas and Houston. He was reportedly paid $150,000/month to join Michael Jackson on tour and be his personal physician.
Is involuntary manslaughter the right charge? Some medical bloggers believe he should not have any charges brought at all. I believe the charge (or even worse) is warranted and he should lose his medical license permanently.
If you want to see how vibrant Michael Jackson was at the time of his death, rent the video "This is It". It is great entertainment and his death was certainly premature.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 6:20 AM