13 Aug Doctor Left Jackson Alone After Sedation
Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s former personal physician, left Jackson alone and under the influence of a powerful anesthetic the morning the pop singer died, according to three sources. By the time Murray returned from making phone calls, the singer had stopped breathing.
Murray, identified in court records as a suspect in a police manslaughter investigation, legally acquired the drug propofol from a Las Vegas pharmacy and gave it to Jackson as treatment for insomnia, said the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the investigation is ongoing.
In an interview with Los Angeles police two days after Jackson’s death, Murray acknowledged obtaining and administering the medication. Murray reportedly told police that Jackson had returned to his rented Holmby Hills mansion in the early hours of June 25 but was unable to sleep.
Propofol, also known by the brand name Diprivan, is a strong sedative used to induce unconsciousness for surgery and to calm patients during uncomfortable procedures. When used incorrectly, it can be deadly as it decreases respiration and can stop one’s breathing. It also lowers blood pressure and slows the heart rate.
Jackson had been using propofol as a sleep aid on and off for ten years, according to a law enforcement official. Murray said he had given Jackson doses of the drug repeatedly during his $150,000/month job as his doctor.
Murray told detectives that he felt comfortable leaving Jackson alone while he placed phone calls because there had never been a problem in the past. He couldn’t say how long he was out of Jackson’s bedroom, but when he returned, Jackson wasn’t breathing. Murray reportedly performed CPR and another person called 911. Paramedics arrived and rushed the singer to Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center, where was pronounced dead at 2:26 pm.
Murray’s attorney, Edward Chernoff, has repeatedly declined to say whether Murray administered propofol to Jackson, and Murray has maintained that he did nothing wrong. Chernoff confirmed that the doctor had spent time on the phone before he discovered Jackson in a bedroom, and has said that Murray did not lie to police. He also said that the police are not telling the whole story.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has concluded its investigation into Jackson’s death but, at the request of the LAPD, has not released its findings. Evidence gathered during the investigation suggests that the propofol admission alone might not be enough to charge Murray with manslaughter.
Other prescription drugs, including an anti-anxiety medication, were found in Jackson’s system along with a limited amount of propofol. The law enforcement source said the presence of the other drugs without a massive amount of propofol could complicate any prosecution.
The other drugs may have amplified the effect of the propofol, depressing Jackson’s breathing. Other factors are Jackson’s alleged history of addiction to prescription medication and his use of propofol in the past.
Chernoff suggested that Murray did not realize what he was signing up for when he agreed to be Jackson’s personal physician. “When he accepted the job, he was not aware of any specific requirements regarding medications that Michael Jackson was taking or any addictions that he was suffering from,” Chernoff said.
Murray is one of at least five doctors whose conduct is being examined by the LAPD with the aid of the Drug Enforcement Administration in connection with Jackson. Although several have had records subpoenaed by the coroner’s office, Murray is the only one to be publicly identified as a suspect.
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