Perhaps the most shocking news to hit the world in recent days, and I know I’m a bit late on this one as well. But better late than never, I say.
MSNBC reports that the death of world-famous pop singer Michael Jackson has been ruled a homicide. While it does not necessarily imply that a crime has in fact been committed, it’s certainly not good news for Dr. Conrad Murray, the Las Vegas cardiologist who became Jackson’s personal physician.
From what I can gather, the story appears to imply that Jackson likely died from interactions between the multiple medications given to him, sometimes called the “multiplier effect.” Quote from the article:
That combination [of 25mg propofol and small amounts of lorazepram and midazolam] succeeded in helping Jackson sleep two days prior to his death, so the next day, Murray told detectives he cut off the propofol — and Jackson fell asleep with just the two sedatives.
Then around 1:30 a.m. on June 25, starting with a 10-milligram tab of Valium, Murray said he tried a series of drugs instead of propofol to make Jackson sleep. The injections included two milligrams of lorazepam around 2 a.m., two milligrams of midazolam around 3 a.m., and repeats of each at 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively.
But they didn’t work.
Murray told detectives that around 10:40 a.m. he gave in to Jackson’s “repeated demands/requests” for propofol, which the singer referred to as his “milk.” He administered 25 milligrams of the white-colored liquid, — a relatively small dose — and finally, Jackson fell asleep.
Murray remained with the sedated Jackson for about 10 minutes, then left for the bathroom. No more than two minutes later, he returned — and found Jackson had stopped breathing.
It appears as though Dr. Murray was negligent at the least, forgetting that some amounts of all the other drugs were probably still in Jackson’s system. I’m no pharmacist or doctor, but I would certainly not try to add even a half-dose of propofol (which is described as primarily being used in hospitals elsewhere in the article) on top of three other similar drugs.
It is of course possible (I personally consider it unlikely, but still possible) Dr. Murray won’t be found criminally liable. However, if he is not, I’ll be horrified if Dr. Murray doesn’t at least lose his license to practice medicine, and the inevitable wrongful death suit from the Jackson family.