Jackson was dead on arrival at hospital, say ER doctors
Published 04/10/2011 | 05:00
Michael Jackson was clinically dead when he arrived at a hospital and two emergency room doctors said they thought it was futile to attempt to revive him. His doctor, however, insisted that they try.
Both doctors, testifying at Dr Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial yesterday, said Dr Murray failed to tell them that he had been giving Jackson the anesthetic propofol or when the singer had been medicated.
"He said he did not have any concept of time, that he did not have a watch," said Dr Thao Nguyen, a cardiologist at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson was taken on June 25, 2009.
"Dr Murray asked that we not give up easily and try to save Michael Jackson's life," she said. ". . . in Dr Murray's mind, if we called it quits, we would be giving up easily."
Dr Nguyen said Dr Murray "sounded desperate and he looked devastated." But, she said, without knowing how much time had passed since he stopped breathing, resuscitation was a remote hope.
"It was not too little too late," she said. "It was a case of too late. I feared that time was not on Mr Jackson's side."
Dr Murray (58) has pleaded not guilty. Authorities say he administered the fatal dose and acted recklessly by providing Jackson the drug as a sleep aid at his home when it is supposed to be administered in a hospital. The defence argues that Jackson gave himself an additional dose of the drug when Dr Murray was out of the room.
Dr Nguyen and Dr Richelle Cooper, who oversaw Jackson's care in the emergency room, said Dr Murray never mentioned that he had given the singer the propofol.
"Did he ever mention propofol to you?" Deputy District Attorney David Walgren asked Nguyen.
"Absolutely not," she said.
Before leaving the stand, Dr Nguyen said, "I've never heard of propofol being used outside of a hospital."
In cross-examination, def- ence attorney Michael Flanagan was able to get Dr Cooper to say that, even if they had known about the propofol, they could not have saved Jackson's life.
"Michael Jackson had died long before he became my patient," she said. "It is unlikely I could have done something that would have changed the outcome."
She also said that the amount of propofol which Dr Murray has since claimed he gave Jackson would not have put him to sleep and would have dissipated from his body in five to seven minutes.
Dr Murray claimed he administered 25 milligrams. An autopsy showed that he died of an overdose of the drug.
Dr Cooper said Jackson was "clinically dead" by the time he reached the hospital and she had advocated pronouncing him dead at his home when she received radio calls from paramedics.
"Mr Jackson was my patient and I didn't really have an explanation of why he was dead. I knew it would be a coroner's case," she said and suggested he should have been pronounced dead when the radio call came in.
But she yielded to Murray and Jackson was brought to the emergency room where more than 14 people worked on the effort to revive him.
She has said more than an hour of resuscitation efforts at the hospital did nothing to improve Jackson's condition.
The case continues.