WhiteCoat

Michael Jackson’s Doctor to be Charged with Manslaughter

1_61_Murray_ConradJust read an article on Fox News that Michael Jackson’s physician, Conrad Murray, is going to be charged with manslaughter. The DA’s office is allegedly building a case against Michael Jackson’s dermatologist as well.

According to the article, the LA District Attorney’s office denies the story, but Fox News is standing firm with its allegations.

I’m putting my money with Fox News on this one. There is too much of a public outcry regarding Jackson’s death for the DA’s office not to do something – even though I don’t think it’s right. As Kevin MD highlighted in a post, such are the risks of treating celebrities.

If Dr. Murray administered propofol to help Michael Jackson sleep, he was obviously using the medication in an unapproved manner. Doctors use medications in unapproved manners all the time. Many of you are probably being prescribed medications right now that are not FDA approved for the purpose for which your doctor has prescribed them to you.

So if we’re going to criminalize some activity, exactly what activity are we going to criminalize? How do we define when a doctor has committed a criminal act? Highly dangerous? Giving tPA for stroke is highly dangerous. People die from receiving that medication. We going to throw all the doctors in jail that use tPA?

I’m not condoning what Dr. Murray did, but I also think society has to think very carefully before crossing the line between charges of professional negligence and charges of criminal behavior. It’s one thing to be sued for millions of dollars or even lose your license because you gave a medication that resulted in someone’s death. It’s another thing to be thrown in jail for doing so.

Start threatening any health care providers with incarceration for using professional judgment and very quickly you will see how few people will be willing to provide those services.

Do we really want to start down this slippery slope?

.
UPDATE AUGUST 24, 2009

See additional discussion about the criminalization of medicine from Happy Hospitalist, Nurse K, ERP and Reality Rounds.
It’s official. Michael Jackson had lethal levels of propofol in his system. The coroner’s office ruled Michael Jackson’s death a homicide.
So now that manslaughter charges are imminent, what will happen to the other doctors that prescribed propofol to Michael Jackson in the months and years before his death? Do they get off scot free even if they are the ones who addicted MJ to propofol?
Nurse K raises a point that the circumstances of this case are unique and that there wouldn’t likely be a precedent set if Dr. Murray was convicted. I disagree. The publicity that this case has received will make it a tremendous precedent. If a trial occurs, it will be like OJ Simpson’s trial all over again.
Happy asked whether criminal charges should be filed if the overdose was of Ativan or another medication used to induce sleep. In other words, if a patient dies, is it the medication causing the death that makes the act illegal or is it the fact that the medication causing the death was given “off label”?
Nurse K gave a pretty good definition of what type of acts should be criminalized, but even using her definition, some negligent acts could be unintentionally classified as being criminal. What about doctors prescribing large doses of medications in a pain clinic or an oncology clinic? How do we classify egregious acts as being criminal while excluding acts of simple negligence from the definition?
So Dr. Murray will be the personification of a medical criminal.
What’s next?

62 Responses to “Michael Jackson’s Doctor to be Charged with Manslaughter”

  1. Katie says:

    This reminds me of a conversation I had yesterday with my mother. She was telling me how my grandmother was recently hospitalized at a hospital she was less than enthused about. So she asked to be transferred. The issue was it was to a same level facility and they said insurance would not pay for it. They opted for the transfer anyways and when she got to the “better” hospital they performed the same tests they had done at the less than stellar hospital. My mother made the comment that this is why we are in a health care crisis and this is what the president is talking about. I instantly let her know that the repeat testing is done because they do not want to get there butts sued off. We are in a health care crisis because we have to cover ourselves in every aspect that we do. I may be wrong but this is my experience with this profession. And we do more covering our butts than doctoring at times.

  2. One awaits the charges, of course. To speculate, a doctor might commit a small crime, such as falsifying a prescription or the unlicensed practice of medicine. The patient dies accidentally but as part of the small crime. The charge could be misdemeanor manslaughter, meaning the death took place during the commission of the small crime. It is a lawyer gotcha, but if the law is on the books, does WC still object?

    Felony murder is a bank guard’s accidentally shooting a bank customer during the bank robbery. The bank robber commits the felony, and a homicide takes place during it and is caused by the robbery. The bank robber gets the death penalty for the homicide of the customer. I support that as fair and logical.

    • Rebecca says:

      How can a doctor commit unlicensed practice of medicine?

      • T.M. Stevens says:

        By not having a license and practicing medicine.

        An unlicensed holder of an MD degree, whether they be fresh out of school, pre-licensure, or an established practitioner who’s had their license suspended or revoked by their friendly neighborhood medical board can not legally practice medicine because they have no license. If the unlicensed individuals choose to practice medicine, they are committing unlicensed practice of medicine.

      • WhiteCoat says:

        or by being licensed in one state and practicing medicine in a state in which he/she does not have a license.
        This issue was raised with “telephone medicine” and with doctors who go to disaster scenes in other states (Hurricane Katrina, for example) to help.

  3. David says:

    You have a good point but I’ll await the charges too. It’s conceivable they have some evidence of gross negligence on the part of the doctor.

  4. paul says:

    well… i was on the fence about being willing to give celebrities propofol for 6 figures a month. but if this guy’s being charged with manslaughter, i guess that’ll be a deterrent for me.

  5. SumDood says:

    Yeah, but what if the doc was a federal employee (http://erstories.net/?p=1255)? That would totally be worth 6 figures a month.

  6. DreamingTree says:

    Had he given the medication but taken the same precautions as would be required in the hospital, then I would agree with you. Stupid, but not worthy of criminal charges. However, he was extremely negligent in not monitoring Jackson’s VS. He left the room to make phone calls. In my mind, that may be worth charges. How would it differ from the day care worker leaving a toddler in a car on a hot summer day (child dies — manslaughter charges), or the mother allowing teens to drink & drive (someone dies — manslaughter)? I’m far from being a legal expert, but I see similarities in these cases. A death that occurs from extreme negligence deserves consequences. Just my humble opinion…

    • T.M. Stevens says:

      And if MJ was under, courtesy of propofol, why would the doctor need to leave the room to make phone calls? Certainly not for privacy’s sake. He could’ve made the calls from MJ’s room while keeping an eye on the not so recently departed.

  7. Nurse K says:

    You’re sounding kinda Happyesque on this, Whitecoat. For sleep, there are dozens of pills and other non-pharmacologic treatments available that HAVE been approved; instead, he opted to use a powerful anesthetic that is never used in the home and carries a very high risk of airway collapse, decrease in blood pressure, and death if used without any monitoring equipment and airway supplies! It’s like using strangulation or a pillow over the face with a handful of nitroglycerin as a treatment for insomnia. There aren’t any sleeping treatments out there that require a nurse and a doctor to be with the patient to monitor airway, breathing, and blood pressure. For something as high-risk as propofol for a diagnosis as benign as insomnia, there should be a very compelling argument for its use (probably including approval of an ethics committee or something), not injecting it in some bedroom in a house somewhere without any kind of monitoring. That’s called killing the patient and needs to be prosecuted or we go down the slippery slope of looking the other way when doctors do something so outside the realm of normal that puts the patient in grave danger just because the patient wants to get high (probably).

    • WhiteCoat says:

      You’re probably right. Propofol should never have been used for insomnia. I don’t know all the facts behind the case yet, so I won’t speculate until all the facts are made public. Using propofol to treat insomnia is not the point of the post.

      The point of the post is to question the policy of criminalizing the practice of medicine. Even if doctors make horribly bad judgment calls, should criminal charges attach? You going to take the fall for handing a drug seeker with back pain the prescription for Oxycontin? After all, there is a high risk associated with the medication, with little or no benefit attached when the patient is a drug seeker.
      Once we start saying it’s OK to criminalize medical decisions, then the next headline reads:

      Anytown, USA –
      Dr. Johnathan J. BloodyGloves has been arrested and charged with manslaughter for prescribing Percocet to a patient with rhinitis due to a concern that the patient may develop future sinus pain. The patient later died from a medication overdose.
      Nurse K, who was the nurse caring for the patient, is also being investigated for failing to question Dr. BloodyGloves’ order prior to the patient’s discharge.

      Then …

      Anytown, USA –
      Dr. Johnathan J. BloodyGloves was arrested and charged with manslaughter for prescribing children’s cold medications when pediatric consensus is that they have no effect upon cold symptoms. One of the children that Dr. BloodyGloves prescribed medication later died of a heart arrhythmia – a known complication of cold medication prescriptions. Nurse K was also charged for failure to question the prescription at discharge.

      Start down the path and we start doing a “risk/benefit” analysis on every patient that dies. Pretty soon prosecutors start bringing in JCAHO safety recommendations. You didn’t put the bed rails up and the patient fell out, had a head bleed and died. Defend yourself for manslaughter.

      Yank the doctor’s license. Hold him out to public ridicule if the facts warrant it. File civil charges against him.

      Criminalizing medicine is just a bad idea.

      • Nurse K says:

        If he was really giving propofol for insomnia (or in order to help MJ get high), he was not practicing medicine. That’s like saying me putting a pillow over a demented patient’s face because he was calling out too much was doing a “non-pharmacological complimentary intervention for anxiety in addition to his nightly seroquel” and should not be criminal.

        Your overgeneralization here is hurting your argument.

        Also, never insinuate that I wouldn’t question BG for prescribing narcs for something retarded like “rhinitis” after a barely cursory non-exam. I’m all up in his grill 24/7 over that nonsense and he usually listens to me. That being said, I really hope someday that the DEA takes away his prescriptive privileges. Whether it’s hives, zits, or URIs, he prescribes Percocet #15 (even to those who say they’re former drug addicts and don’t want any), and that is borderline criminal to me. If doctors should be able to prescribe highly addictive and potentially dangerous narcotics for any slightly painful or non-painful condition, may as well make them OTC and get rid of the DEA entirely.

        Children’s cough syrup and the occasional error in judgment in an otherwise excellent doctor is not the same thing as propofol being repeatedly given for ?insomnia. This is probably like porn…you know it when you see it.

      • WhiteCoat says:

        I’m not insinuating anything about you with your interactions with BG, only showing you how a good-intentioned law to criminalize behavior where risk >> benefit can trickle down and apply to everyday medical decisions.

        Criminals have to be put on notice that their actions will result in a crime. We can’t just point at someone’s actions after the fact and tell them “that’s illegal.” So help me out. If it is so easy to pick out the egregious cases from the “close calls,” then write the language for the statute that will be used to convict healthcare professionals of the crime of manslaughter.

        “The crime of medical manslaughter shall consist of _________________.”

    • taggerx says:

      His MD does not qualify every decision as strictly medical.

      This MD was so far outside the limits of expected medical decision making, it makes me wonder why you chose this case to support an argument against criminalizing medical decisions? As if any reasonable MD would characterize his behavior equivocally.

      Clearly, other motivations than reasoned medical judgment entered into the choice to administer propofol at home, for sleep of all things, to one of the biggest stars on our twisted little planet. It appears possibly criminal even without a lethal outcome.

      If I could agree with your implied premise regarding the nature of the choices made, then I could sympathize with the point you seem to be trying to make. I don’t believe the MJ case is a good fit for your argument, a point sufficiently made by Nurse K.

      You suggest there is some process afoot to turn behavior into something it wasn’t. I don’t believe behavior is being criminalized. It’s likely they will discover evidence in support of said behavior’s essential criminal nature: abuse of the license leading to outrageous behavior probably contributing to if not causing a man to die. No precedent here, just tricky politics in prosecution.

      Awkward as it may be, I think I’m in bed with Nurse K on this one.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    The big difference between giving tPA for stroke and giving propofol for insomnia is that the tPA is not more dangerous than the condition it is used to treat.

    • cynic says:

      Not necessarily true.

      • russ says:

        The results of tpa can be much worse than the condition treated.

      • Painless says:

        There are 3 words that need to be said in this argument… Risk VS Benefit.. enough said. The risks of giving Tpa can be worth the benefit – I just can’t see any benefit to giving propofol for insomnia that’s worth the risks..

      • WhiteCoat says:

        Once we start saying criminal charges should attach when risk >> benefit, where do we stop?
        Risky surgery?
        Unproven new prescription medications/techniques?
        Medical devices?
        If the risk is 10 times the benefit, does the doctor get thrown in jail? How about 100 times? How about 5 times? Whatever line you draw is arbitrary. Then someone straddling the line on one side spends 20 years in prison while someone on the other side of the line can’t be prosecuted.

    • taggerx says:

      I don’t believe this man’s actions deserve anything close to a gray area assignment, not even within the most inflated hypothetical supposition.

  9. Ted says:

    The assumption here is that Michael Jackson did not have an ICU set up in his home. If that is the case, and propofol was used without appropriate monitoring equipment and personnel, manslaughter could be a reasonable charge.

    Given what I’ve read about Michael Jackson, assuming he didn’t have a cardiac monitor, pulse ox, and airway cart in his bedroom (along with people trained to use them) could be a mistake.

  10. Christine says:

    I’ve read news articles that state Jackson had a “mini hospital” set up in his rented house, including monitoring equipment and a vent.

  11. russ says:

    We don’t know the facts. If he died while recieving propofol then and argument can be made for causation. Since propofol only lasts 6 minutes then if he died sometime afterward then the argument can be made that MJ died because he took other drugs on his own unbeknownst to the doctor. The doctors defense could also be that MJ was addicted prior to his care so he was just continuing what was already in place while working on other alternatives to his addiction. Will be interesting to see if the MJ’s family wants all of MJ’s dirty laundry of addiction, doctor shopping, and polypharmacy exposed.

    • T.M. Stevens says:

      If propofol only lasts 6 minutes, does that mean that MJ was reinfused with propofol every 6 minutes for however long his “sleep” cycle was?
      Can you even get high off of propofol? I thought it just knocked you out. Doesn’t sound like there’s much “high” potential in that.

  12. Tom says:

    Please. We all know the “doctor” wasn’t an idealist out to save the world. He was given money to ignore his training, and administer whatever medication the patient wanted, without regard to safety or necessity. If I give the right doctor enough money, he will do whatever I want. Celebrities just know how to find those right doctors.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      So any health care provider with loose morals should go to prison?
      What about doctors that do unnecessary procedures?
      What about doctors who overprescribe narcotics to keep patients coming back?
      We’re going to need more prisons.

      P.S. I feel like Matt right about now.

  13. lonewolf69 says:

    HERES THE PROBLEM,IF MJ WAS SICK THEN HE NEEDED A DR,BUT IF MJ WAS AN ADDICT THEN HE NEEDED REHAB.THE DR THAT WAS PRESENT THAT DAY KNEW THAT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER MJ WAS ADDICTED,AND CONTINUED TO SURROUND THE STAR WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS ADDICTION AND SAID NOTHING.DR MURRAY HAD DISREGARD FOR HIS SO CALLED PATIENT AND STAYED WITH MJ THRU HIS ADDICTION.MJ WAS ADDICTED, NOT SICK. SO HE DID NOT NEED A DR OF THIS SORT.THEREFORE THE CONCLUSION IS OBVIOUS.THE DR WAS ADMINISTRATING THIS DRUG AND NOT HEALING MJ.IF HE WAS TREATING MJ FOR ANY ILLNESS THEN THE INVESTIGATION WOULD SHOW WHAT ILLNESS MJ HAD AT THE TIME BEFORE HIS DEATH.ALSO IF THIS DR WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO MJ THEN NEITHER WOULD THE DRUG.I TRULY BELIEVE THAT HE DID NOT INTEND FOR MJ TO DIE BUT SHOULD HOLD THE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR AIDING AN ADDICT WITH THE DRUG AND NOT TRYIN TO DISCOURAGE HIM.AFTER ALL MJ WOULD HAVE ONLY FELT SAFE WHEN THERE WAS A DR AROUND WHO COULD OF ADMINISTERED THIS DRUG AND PROVIDED IT.

    • SumDood says:

      Addicted to propofol? Or, addicted to sleep?

      Oh, and you should consider troubleshooting your keyboard. Very annoying.

      • lonewolf69 says:

        stick to the subject dumdood or sory bumdood, i think you should try troubleshooting your name, its very annoying dungdood.

  14. Nurse K says:

    Responding to White Coat Above:

    “The crime of medical manslaughter shall consist of an action by a physician or health care provider that constitutes gross negligence resulting in the death of the patient.”

    Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons.

    It would seem quite obvious to me that someone prescribing cold medicine to a child with a cold who later dies of some wacky complication from the medication would not be using gross negligence because there is no reason to believe the cold medicine would cause “grave injury” to the child and the treatment is in widespread use for a similar reason by parents and providers.

    However, deliberately giving or somehow prescribing someone a vial of propofol to take PRN at home or administering propofol to a person for sleep in their place of residence without any type of trained personnel monitoring would show a *conscious* and *voluntary* disregard for the fact that improper monitoring of people receiving propofol could very reasonably cause respiratory arrest and death. Of course the improper monitoring could very well be because the doctor wanted to help MJ keep this addiction secret.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      Not bad, K.
      I still think that legitimate actions could get tangled up within that definition.
      “Failing to use reasonable care” is the same thing as negligence.
      So the definition basically says that if a doctor is negligent, if the negligent act is likely to cause grave injury, and if the patient dies, then the doctor should go to jail.
      Some examples:
      A doctor with a known history of MRSA colonization forgets to wash his hands between patients and gives a patient MRSA. The patient later dies from complications of treatment.
      An ED physician intubates the esophagus during a trauma code then puts in a chest tube for the flail chest before checking a chest x-ray. The patient later dies from brain hypoxia.
      Surgeon who performed “dirty” bowel surgery forgets to order postoperative antibiotics. Patient dies of sepsis.
      Do all of these grossly negligent acts deserve 20 to life in the big house?

      • YokelRidesAgain says:

        The key words in the definition of gross negligence are:

        1. “Conscious and voluntary”. Forgetting something, even if it is important, is not a conscious choice. Making an error–even an egregious error such as cutting off the wrong limb or confusing a patient’s non-cancerous biopsy sample with another sample showing malignancy–is not something that any doctor would choose to do.

        As for the other examples above–I think it would be very hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a physician was performing procedures that were completely unnecessary. However, in the right situation such action could constitute criminal assault. As regards the action of overprescribing narcotics–several physicians get prosecuted for this every year.

        The criminal element comes in when one makes the conscious decision to act with wanton disregard for the best interest of the patient. Other errors may very well constitute malpractice, but they are not criminal.

        2. “Foreseeable grave injury” resulting from failure to use “reasonable care”: Again, the standard is to have violated these provisions beyond a reasonable doubt. Any commonly or even uncommonly accepted medical procedure is clearly not included. But–is any action, no matter how dangerous and completely beyond the pale of reasonable medical practice, exempt from prosecution unless there was actual intent to cause harm?

        You’re welcome to advocate for that, but that’s not what the law says.

  15. It is ludicrous to compare administering propofol in a bedroom for insomnia, to giving tPA for a stroke in the ER. Yes, we use off label drugs all the time for conditions and diseases. It is usually done as part of a standard of care.
    As far as MJ’s physician being charged in a criminal court, if there was any criminal intent or actions on his part, then he should go down. Did he prescribe this drug legally, or did he use aliases to obtain it? Did he destroy documents to cover his tracks? Any prudent physician would know the risks of administering propofol to a patient in a private residence, unmonitored, with no back up. If criminal intent and activity was found, this physician should go to jail. Doctors are not above the law.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      You’re missing the point.
      I’m not comparing the two from a “medically appropriate” standard. I don’t know all of the facts, but I think it will be difficult to show that administering propofol was medically appropriate.
      I’m saying that if we are going to criminalize behaviors that are medically “risky” then a lot of medically appropriate treatments may be caught up within that definition.
      I agree with you – if there is criminal intent, then the doctor should go to jail.
      The question is … what if there was NO criminal intent? Does the doctor still go to jail?
      Why?
      And how do you define who will go to jail in the future when patients die but there is no criminal intent?

      • taggerx says:

        When several reasonable participants seem to repeatedly be, “missing the point,” it may be time to concede something. They may just be sticking to their counterpoint. (I wanted to say *capitulate* instead of concede, but I best decline such in hopes of remaining tolerated by those I generally respect.)

      • SumDood says:

        Maybe, if they’re a celebrity, you go to jail, but if they’re a nobody, no one will know?

      • It’s more than “risky”, the actions give no benefit to the patient whatever. This behaviour is right up there with cosmetic amputations.

  16. YokelRidesAgain says:

    Let’s try another tack.

    Let’s say I’m a surgeon with a serious drinking problem. To avoid any concerns about how informed I am, let’s also say that I’ve been previously disciplined by the medical licensing board and sent to rehab, where I was told in no uncertain terms that I should not operate on patients when I’m drunk.

    Unfortunately, the rehab didn’t stick and I’m on the verge of getting fired because I call in to cancel procedures too often. So, one day after consuming 10 cocktails or so, I stagger into the operating room to take out Mrs. Smith’s cancerous left kidney. I’m fully aware that I’m drunk and I shouldn’t be doing this, but I decide to chance it because I can’t afford to lose my job.

    I have actually done this operation while drunk on dozens of occasions in the past without any obvious complications.

    Unfortunately, I accidentally lacerate the aorta while attempting to remove the kidney, and Mrs. Smith bleeds to death.

    I didn’t want this to happen to Mrs. Smith. I did not intend to harm her, and expected that I would not harm her.

    Is it wrong for me to be prosecuted for manslaughter for the death of Mrs. Smith?

    • Nurse K says:

      No. Just because you have thrown bricks off the freeway overpass and didn’t hit a car the first 5 times doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be liable for the 6th brick that you throw off the overpass because it breaks through someone’s windshield and kills them. Same for Drunk Surgeon. Any reasonable physician should know that intoxication could lead to unintentional errors in technique, and your job concerns are no reason to be playing roulette with a patient’s life when they are at your mercy intubated and unconscious.

      • YokelRidesAgain says:

        Exactly.

        I really can’t fathom the concept of “criminal intent” being required to charge a healthcare provider–or anyone else–with a crime. Intent is an aggravating factor, but not what makes an act illegal.

        If I shoot my gun off randomly to celebrate the New Year and I accidentally shoot my neighbor in the face, I don’t get off scot free by claiming that I didn’t mean to do it.

    • No, because your operating while drunk is so egregiously stupid that it fails the “reasonable man” test. No reasonable person would think that was OK to do. Mr. Jackson’s doctor’s actions failed both the reasonable man test, and the depraved indifference test. What he did, in the setting that he did it, was so unjustifiable in terms of risks and benefits to his patients that it is legally indefensable.

      I’d rule this death a homicide. No question about it, as would most of my forensic colleagues. What the DA does with it, that’s his problem. But Mr. Jackson died due to the intentional actions of another human being. MANNER OF DEATH = HOMICIDE.

  17. Hayduke says:

    What a great, unpopular point. During our current orgy of physician villification, MJ’s doctor is the new poster boy. I argue that he abused his license, used exceptionally poor judgement and had bizarre motives but is not a criminal.
    Pursuit of criminal prosecution for the practice of medicine is not a slippery slope. It is a fall from a cliff.
    The charge here is manslaughter. What about other “crimes”? I do painful stuff every day. My patients in the trauma bay that need a chest tube sometimes cannot wait for adequate sedation/analgesia. I am wikkid quick with a ton of lidocaine at the site, but the tube insertion is not infrequently medieval in its effect. Have I just committed assault? How about battery?

    Nurse Ks definition of manslaughter is predicated on negligence. Aren’t we having enough trouble defining this in civil courts? Are we willing to start imprisoning healthcare workers for doing their job badly?

    • YokelRidesAgain says:

      The scenario you describe is a straw man. No one would suggest that performing a potentially lifesaving medical procedure in an emergent situation would constitute battery.

      Are we going to start imprisoning health care workers for doing their jobs badly? Yes, if health care workers stretch the definition of their “doing their jobs badly” to include providing treatments that they are utterly unable to administer properly in settings that any half-informed layperson would recognize as reckless.

      What if Mr. Jackson had asked this cardiologist to perform coronary artery bypass surgery in his bedroom? If he decided, “What the hey, let’s give it a try?” would that not be criminally reckless?

      Giving a drug that produces respiratory failure when administered as directed in someone’s bedroom is scarcely more justifiable, in my view.

  18. [...] heated fist-fight discussion has been going on on three mediblogs – White Coat’s, Happy Hospitalist’s, and Nurse K’s. It started when White Coat bemoaned the fact that [...]

  19. Bella says:

    Dang! This has certainly been some interesting reading and contemplation from differing points of view. I am of the mind to wait and see what becomes of it for real, not just the speculation of the legal consequences it might foretell. It’s pretty obvious Michael Jackson had a drug fetish and this Dr. gave him what he wanted. Wonder if the trial will be publicized on TV, as millions would tune in to watch that one no doubt, me included.

  20. ERP says:

    The comments are all out of order. I guess the thing to do is to wait and see what happens. Hopefully Dr Murray will pay in some way for his negligent behaviour but his case will not spread to the mainstream world of decongestants prescribed for pediatric colds.

  21. lonewolf69 says:

    hes guilty,you don’t give an addict more drugs,Propofol is a drug not to be used outside hospital doors.how it was made available to mj is one thing.Whoever performed the administration of it to mj is the other.All this shit about bricks and drunkeness and stuff just adds up to one thing, Disregard for another human.Its plain and simple,as long as the money was green Dr Murray would given MJ any drug he desired.He took over from where other Drs fear to go and were all fired by MJ.MJs other DRs all knew about his addiction and the dangers they were causing.But Dr Murray jumped to the chance to happily replace them and fulfil MJS (who obviously was an addict) every desire.Thats what addicts want and all they need is a supplier.Im a reformed steriod user and use to be addicted to this substance.And as long as you have access to it and someone to help you administer it you will become hooked.Some guys died because of liver failure, heart and kidney failure because of their addiction to steriods.the point im making is that regardless of the drug,the person administrating it and monitoring it is the person most likly to be responsable on when or wether a person like MJ should be given more propofol.DR Murray did not intend on killing MJ, But should be held responsable aleast for proviing him the drug

  22. fyrdoc says:

    While I’ve never written it myself, I have, while a resident at an uber-academic receiving hospital, had a patient prescribed propofol for self administration through a port for “severe” headaches. Now, I am not defending that prescribing physician (the patient also had LOADS of fentanyl carpojets for the same indication. So many in fact that our nurses called our legal department to see if they needed to return these to the patient upon discharge). My point? First of all, MJs case is not isolated. Could a physician reason to themselves that, while monitored it would be o.k. to put a patient “to sleep” with propofol? Possibly. Let’s take this case out of the “bedroom” and into the OR. If an anesthesiologist, in the midst of a divorce (or a med mal case ;-) ) leaves the OR after a patient has been sedated but before a surgeon arrives, to speak with their lawyer on the phone and the patient codes, is it criminal? I’m not sure. And that is what happened here. MJs doctor gave a boatload of sedation for an off label use and then failed to monitor him. Would there even be charges if he had monitored him? The medical board might have questioned him, but not the courts…

    • lonewolf69 says:

      sorry, but what the hell are you dribblin about. Sounds like your on something.You should take some propofol and gets some sleep and then maybe you’ll make some sense.Now look, you’ve started me yawning.

      • William the Coroner says:

        Had there been monitoring in place, either in home or an office or hospital setting, that would change the manner to accident. The doctor didn’t take proper precautions.

    • WhiteCoat says:

      So William, I’m curious because I don’t really know the answer.
      It’s obvious that a cause of death must take into account the circumstances surrounding a death, if known.
      How often do coroners change the cause of death if new information comes to light?
      For example, in this case, presumably the coroner already knew whether there was monitoring equipment in the house.
      Suppose that later it comes to light that Dr. Murray knew that propofol shouldn’t have been used to help MJ sleep, but he also knew that MJ was addicted to too large of a dose of propofol to just stop the drug “cold turkey” and he was attempting to wean MJ down – much in the same way heroin addicts are weaned off of heroin using methadone.
      Would the coroner be obliged to change the cause of death?

      • lonewolf69 says:

        weaning an addict off drugs is still supplying an addict drugs but in smaller doses and that addict wont come off it completely, cos most of the time they’ll jus come down to an amount that they’ll believe is sufficient enough to not be in the catergorie of a drug abuser.You could say that it almost defeats the purpose.Dr Drew did’nt wean his patients off any of the drugs they were taking,He simply removed them from their everyday enviroment and helped change their lifestyle and their surroundings thats how you treat drug addicts.Most druggies sent to jail for over a period of time have dried out or have become rehabilitated and clean because the access to any drug or a particular drug especially propofol would have been virtually impossible to obtain.Dr Murrays excuse about weaning his patient off propofol is obsurd and its over shadowing the main reason of the investigation and that is who kept MJ in supply of the drug.We already know who administered it weather it was an attempt to wean MJ off or not.Like any drug investigation you look for the supplier then you work your way down the chain right to the user who usually is the victim in this.YOU DON’T GIVE DRUG ADDICTS DRUGS OF ANY DOSE TO TRY AND REHABILITATE THEM.YOU CHANGE THE ENVIROMENT AND THEIR SURROUNDINGS WITH ZERO ACCESS TO ANY FORM OF DRUGS.

  23. Matt says:

    “What’s next?”

    Nothing, really. Society goes on. This will not have any more precedent than the OJ trial you mentioned did, unless it goes up on appeal on some evidentiary issue or something like that. It’s one criminal trial like a million others.

    Prosecutors, who are elected by the public, will continue to make judgment calls every day whether to charge someone based on the evidence they have. There is no way to codify everything a human might do and declare it criminal, simply negligent, or permissible in every situation. So people who are elected to make decisions will make the call whether to charge, then people who are elected to the bench will make calls whether to let the case go forward, then people who are chosen from the voters will decide the facts at issue.

    Nothing particularly novel about it in the United States. It’s a little unique in human history to give that much power to the citizenry, though.

  24. Phil says:

    What a sad conversation. I love Michael Jackson. That doctor should have realized Michael was addicted and gotten him into treatment. When Michael started demanding propofol, the doctor should have ordered an ambulance and sedated Michael enough to get him transported to rehab. Would he have been fired? Probably, but getting fired isn’t a good enough reason not to do the right thing. Michael’s kids are now orphans and this did not have to happen.

  25. Lil' Freshski says:

    This Conrad is a criminal. He reads well enough to graduate then he knew he was operating illegally. He looks like a snake. A psychopath who
    was looking to hurt Micheal Jackson just as John Lennon or JFK was murdered for the spot light. I think America is a scarry place if you trust a foreigner like Conrad. He’s probably an illegal immagrant too. Anyway, MJ had his problems but if he’s going to be greedy and be a drug dealer Conrad had enough loot to hire a real doctor and make sure his house was fully equip’d with the proper scientific gadgets. I am really upset that MJ died. Yo I think capital punishment is the way to go as a deterent. He should at least be in jail now and not released and a life time ban on working in the medical field.

  26. Lil' Freshski says:

    Conrad is no doctor. He had no license. He was not a professional. He was a top loser. Lethal doses is what mattered in this case. He killed him and he should go right to fckin jail. he was also on the run. Why isnt he in jail now? He is like most illegals in this county who do not respect our laws. I dont know about any doctors giving anything like this. He looks like a snake. He was tying to get some fame. He’s the 1/100 psychopath out there! If someone did something illegal they should be arrested. Obviously Conrad has no respect for our laws, the media, MJ his family or anyone. This was no mistake. He wanted to take MJ’s fame and be in the media. A sick parasite if you ask me. I think he should be put to death and on death row like all the others! There are innocent people in jail on death row and somehow Conrad should get some break. No way. He could have called the police. They would have made it hot around the Jackson camp and maybe MJ would have got arrested but not mercy killed by some Dr Death Conrad.

  27. Unemployed WASP says:

    If you give someone 3 downers and then use one of the most regulated surgical anasthesias in existence to put them down and then saunter off to take a pee while they die then come back and get on the phone and call everyone up and chat for awhile before getting the dead person’s kid down there to watch you do CPR long after the guy deceased then I think there may be a problem with that no?

  28. david says:

    a crime is a crime so don’t go say’n just because
    they are doctors that give people illeagl meds
    its ok suppose i rob the corner store and not a bank that isn’t alright is it?????????????????????
    so if they are giving people illegal meds they should be charged like anybody else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. david says:

    a crime is a crime is a crime is a crime
    giving people illegal meds is a crime and they should pay for this will jail time mainly when someone die from this like mj send this doctor to jail o

Leave a Reply


2 + = eight

Popular Authors

  • Greg Henry
  • Rick Bukata
  • Mark Plaster
  • Kevin Klauer
  • Jesse Pines
  • David Newman
  • Rich Levitan
  • Ghazala Sharieff
  • Nicholas Genes
  • Jeannette Wolfe
  • William Sullivan
  • Michael Silverman

Subscribe to EPM