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Entries in Dr. Conrad Murray (3)

Tuesday
Nov082011

Conrad Murray Verdict: Will He Go to Prison?

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Dr. Conrad Murray's conviction for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson could result in a maximum of four years in prison, but it's possible that the doctor may not go to prison.

"It will be very difficult to achieve an appropriate sentence of incarceration for Conrad Murray," District Attorney Steve Cooley said Monday.  Overcrowding in California's prisons and Murray's lack of a prior criminal record will most likely be major factors in his sentence.

Jackson was 50 when he died on June 25, 2009 as he was preparing for his This Is It tour, a comeback that he hoped would restore him as a superstar.  Murray was accused of causing the singer's death by administering the powerful anesthetic propofol and not properly supervising his patient or taking proper steps after Jackson stopped breathing.

A combination of factors will play into the sentence Murray is set to receive on Nov. 29 from Judge Michael Pastor.  After Monday's verdict, Pastor denied a request by the doctor's lawyers to allow him to remain free until sentencing, stating that "public safety demands that he be remanded" to jail.

District Attorney Cooley also said that Murray's felony conviction would result in the automatic suspension of his medical license in California, and that he hopes other states will honor California's convictions.

The lightest sentence that Murray could receive is probation, since Murray is a defendant with no prior criminal record -- a factor that Judge Pastor will be taking into account.

Another major factor in Murray's sentence could be the recent California prison realignment bill AB 109, which has led to criminals receiving reduced or alternate sentences.

If Murray were to be jailed, AB 109 would most likely steer the doctor away from going to state prison.  Instead he would serve whatever sentence he received in a Los Angeles County jail.

Another possibility is that Murray could serve his time at home under house arrest, a sentence that is handed out more often as a result of prison overcrowding.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct122011

Michael Jackson Was 'Absolutely Savable,' Cardiologist Says

Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Michael Jackson would have survived an overdose of propofol if not for Dr. Conrad Murray's negligent care, a cardiologist said Wednesday in Murray's manslaughter trial.

Alon Steinberg, a cardiologist on California's Medical Board, said Murray was unethical and showed gross negligence in his treatment of the pop icon. Murray could face four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

"If these deviations would not have happened, Mr. Jackson would have been alive," Steinberg said.

Upon cross-examination, Steinberg said Jackson was "absolutely savable" when Murray first found the singer unresponsive. Murray told police in a taped interview that he left the singer for two minutes and found him unresponsive at around noon on June 25, 2010.

Steinberg said Murray was negligent in giving Jackson propofol to treat insomnia and failed to properly react to Jackson when the singer went into a respiratory arrest. Propofol is a powerful anesthetic typically administered in a hospital setting.

"All those deviations: giving propofol, giving propofol in an unmonitored setting without personnel, without appropriate monitoring, not being prepared, not appropriately reacting to [respiratory] arrest, not calling 911 in a timely fashion, all directly impacted his life," Steinberg said.

Steinberg called Murray's behavior bizarre. Murray did not immediately call 911 when he found the singer unresponsive in his bedroom after a night of giving the singer sedatives to help him sleep. He called Jackson's personal assistant and yelled at Jackson's chef for help. A bodyguard ultimately called 911 at 12:21 p.m.

The cardiologist reiterated that it took only four minutes for paramedics to respond to Jackson and that the singer could have gotten help far sooner. "Every minute counts," he said.

"It's basic knowledge in America that when someone is down, you need to call 911 for help," he said. "Dr. Murray should have known that, he should have known, 'I have none of the equipment to help Mr. Jackson. I have none of the medications, I have none of the medical personnel.'"

When Murray tried to help Jackson, he made serious mistakes, Steinberg said. Murray performed one-handed CPR on the singer while he was lying on a soft bed. The kind of respiratory arrest that Jackson suffered did not require immediate CPR, but the calling of 911, the ventilating of the singer with a bag valve mask and the use of the medicine flumazenil, Steinberg said.

Steinberg also listed several of the monitoring devices that Murray should have had on hand while administering propofol, including an EKG machine, a blood pressure cuff, oxygen and a bag valve mask. Murray had a blood pressure cuff in a closet that appeared unused and a bag valve mask was found on the floor but it was not used by Murray to ventilate the singer.

Steinberg also said additional medical personnel and certain medications should have been on hand for emergencies.

Murray's defense team says the doctor left Jackson's side for two minutes and during that time Jackson self-administered a lethal combination of propofol and the sedative lorazepam. Steinberg said that even if Jackson self-administered the drugs, that, too, would reflect Murray's gross negligence.

"You always monitor the patient in the hospital, when we give conscious sedation, the drugs are in cabinets. And we account for all the medications and we don't give an opportunity for the patient to self administer," he said.

He also said that if Murray had kept records for Jackson, he could have better assisted first responders and doctors at the UCLA Medical Center.

Murray never admitted giving Jackson propofol to emergency room doctors. He admitted administering the drug two days later in a police interview.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct102011

Michael Jackson’s Trial Testimony Reveals Bizarre Details of His Life

ABC/Bob D'Amico(LOS ANGELES) -- Dr. Conrad Murray's manslaughter trial has given Michael Jackson fans a peek at the often eccentric details of the king of pop's life including skin bleaching cream that he has denied using, sleeping with a urinary catheter, and the presidential style preparations needed for a trip to the store.

Murray is on trial for involuntary manslaughter in the overdosing death of Jackson, who died at age 50 on June 25, 2009 of an overdose of the powerful anesthetic, propofol.

Bodyguards, a cook and other aides, who were present at the house when Jackson died, described some of the everyday elements of life in the Jackson mansion.

Among the oddest routines was the revelation that Jackson wore a urninary catheter while sleeping.

"I recall seeing what appeared to be a plastic bag or some sort of medical device and it was on his penis," said bodyguard Alberto Alvarez who ran into Jackson's room when summoned on the day Jackson died.

A coroner investigator also retrieved a jug of Jackson's urine from the scene.

A witness from a pharmaceutical and medical supply company testified that Murray's staff ordered numerous catheters and urine bags from them in the months before the singer died.

Emergency room attendant Dr. Richelle Cooper told jurors that Murray said that the only regular medications that Jackson took were Valium and Flomax. Flomax is typically used to treat someone suffering from a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate.

The manager and pharmacist at a specialty pharmacy told jurors that Murray called him in the months before the singer's death to ask about making a cream to treat people suffering from vitiligo.

"He was looking for a specific dermatological agent that is used for whitening of the skin. He mentioned that a lot of his patients were African American and they could use the medication," said Tim Lopez of Applied Pharmacy Services.

Vitiligo is a condition where one's skin loses pigmentation. Jackson told Oprah Winfrey in 1993 that he suffered from the condition, but denied that he bleached his skin.

In a police interview, Murray said that he would often rub Jackson's body with cream to treat his vitiligo.

Protecting the notoriously reclusive Jackson's privacy meant that his security team had to case routes and locations before the singer would leave the house. If Jackson wanted to go shopping, his bodyguard would visit the stores beforehand.

"He would usually give me instructions as to what he wanted to buy or what he wanted to go shopping for. He would ask me to go look for certain stores, look for the stores that had the items that he would look for," Alvarez said.

Even getting to rehearsal at the Staples Center for his "This Is It" tour required three cars and a lot of preparation, witnesses testified.

"We would have an advanced vehicle who would go before us—make sure we take the proper route, make sure everything is set up, make sure there's a safe entrance," said Michael Amir Williams, Jackson's personal assistant. "Mr. Jackson would be in the principal vehicle with a trail vehicle behind it."

The advanced team would make certain a golf cart was ready to greet Jackson in the underground parking lot and that his dressing room was as he liked it, including having the thermostat set high.

"I would make sure that everything that he is accustomed to is in place," Alvarez said. "He liked a warm setting."

Even matters as mundane as Jackson's daily diet, has been a part of the trial's testimony. Kai Chase, the personal chef for Jackson and his three children, said that the singer insisted that healthy food be served. He also wanted lunch served promptly at 12:30 p.m., Chase testified.

"Typically, his breakfast would consist sometimes of granola with almond milk, beet juice or carrot orange juice or sometimes he would have an omelette, spinach or something with a lot of vegetables in it," said Chase.

On the day Jackson died of a drug overdose, Chase had prepared granola and almond milk for the singer and had made some of his favorite juices. When she arrived to work that day, she'd noticed that a Tuscan white bean soup she'd made for him the night before to eat after he finished rehearsing for his grueling comeback tour, "This Is It," was still in the fridge uneaten.

In the months before he died, Jackson had begun coming down less frequently for breakfast. Murray increasingly took Jackson's breakfast to him, Chase told jurors.

Despite his emphasis on healthy food, Jackson's frame was so thin, paramedic Richard Senneff said he could see Jackson's ribs and his thin frame made him at first think the singer was suffering from a chronic illness.

Jackson was called MJ and the king of pop by his fans. He was taunted in the press as Wacko Jacko and toyed publicly with the persona of being a modern day Peter Pan, famously calling his home Neverland.

In death, the world has learned that when it came to getting prescription drugs, Jackson went by several aliases.

Stephen Marx, a forensic computer examiner with the Drug Enforcement Agency, testified that emails from a Murray staffer included medical records for an "Omar Arnold" and a MRI for a patient called "Paul Farance." Prescriptions bottles found in Jackson's bedroom were also made for a "Mick Jackson."

Other clues about Jackson's health revealed during the trial include his use of oxygen tanks.

Several witnesses have testified about the presence of oxygen tanks in Jackson's rented mansion. An empty oxygen tank was in Jackson's bedroom when he died.

Two members of Jackson's security team testified that Murray would roll empty tanks to the security trailer adjacent to the home and await the delivery of full tanks.

Alvarez told jurors that a sign on the tanks read, "please remember to take the oxygen tanks every Friday as soon as place opens."

Jackson had a cell phone, but few knew the number and there was no landline in the Jackson home. When people wanted to get in touch with the singer, they often went through Williams. Those who worked with Jackson often said they would meet with Jackson personally rather than call him.

Jackson was so private that his staff rarely ventured into his second floor living quarters. Even Michael Amir Williams, his personal assistant, only went upstairs if summoned.

"He liked his privacy and we respected that. I went upstairs when asked. He may ask me to help set something up," Williams said.

A security trailer was adjacent to the home where the pop icon's security guards stayed unless called into the house. His assistant often spent the workday in the trailer too.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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