Entries in CDr. Conrad Murray (1)


Conrad Murray Case Sends Signal to Docs About Pain Meds

David McNew-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Conrad Murray's conviction on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson sent a loud and clear message to many experts managing the care of patients who may be abusing pain medications: Hold your professional ground.

Murray, a cardiologist, crossed over the medical specialty line when he agreed to manage Jackson's pain medications, according to Dr. Charles Kim, assistant professor of anesthesiology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Prosecutors contended that Murray was willing to give Jackson the powerful hospital-grade anesthetic drug propofol, which Jackson affectionately referred to as "milk," in return for a $150,000 a month paycheck. Murray told police that for two months leading up to Jackson's death, he had administered propofol to Jackson in his bedroom almost nightly.

Murray was accused of giving Jackson a fatal dose of propofol.  He has contended that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose while the doctor was out of the room.

Jackson had already been given lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug, and midazolam, a sedative usually administered before anesthesia; then he took Valium to help him fall asleep.

Although Murray could legally prescribe and oversee the medications found in Jackson's system at the time of his death, some experts say he may not have been experienced with administering these heavy sedatives as an anesthesiologist would have been.

Murray was also under fire during the trial for not properly supervising his patients or taking proper steps to resuscitate Jackson after he stopped breathing.

The supply of prescription painkillers is larger than ever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And pain doctors carry an even heavier burden to monitor patients who may be crossing the line into addiction.

The underlying issue of pain medication dependence is not uncommon, says Dr. Eugene Viscusi, director of acute pain management services at Thomas Jefferson University, in Philadelphia.

Viscusi said some patients who seek unnecessary prescription medication are so convincing that many new and undertrained doctors become manipulated without even realizing it. He recommended honest conversations between a patient and a doctor, and setting reasonable goals in pain management.

Murray, who was convicted on Monday, may spend as little as a few months behind bars with only a temporary medical license suspension – an outcome perhaps "too lenient" given the conviction, say some medical experts surveyed by ABC News' Medical Unit.

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