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Thursday 21 August 2014

Jackson 'sought propofol in 1990s'

Published 29/08/2013 | 01:27

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Michael Jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of propofol

Michael Jackson requested the anaesthetic propofol to help him sleep at least a decade before he died from an overdose of the drug, a doctor told a court.

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Dr Christine Quinn said the pop mega-star summoned her to a Beverly Hills hotel in 1998 or 1999 and asked her to give him propofol.

The request came after she met the singer while he was undergoing dental work. She said she refused the request and told Jackson it was inappropriate to use anaesthesia as a sleep aid. "I told him that the sleep you get with anaesthesia is not real sleep, not restful sleep," Dr Quinn said.

Jackson responded by saying his time under anaesthesia was the best sleep he had ever had, she told the Los Angeles court.

Jackson, 50, died in 2009 from an overdose of propofol that was administered in the singer's bedroom by Dr Conrad Murray, who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Dr Quinn was giving evidence for the defence in a negligent hiring lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother Katherine against AEG Live, the promoters of the singer's ill-fated London comeback concerts. AEG denies it hired Murray.

Dr Quinn said she gave Jackson anaesthesia for procedures done after the meeting at the hotel. He never asked for propofol after the meeting or requested that he be kept under for longer than was medically necessary, she said.

AEG Live has called a number of Jackson's former doctors to give evidence. One expert hired by the company, Dr Petros Levounis, told jurors on Tuesday that Jackson exhibited signs that he was doctor shopping and trying to find medical practitioners who would give him opioid medications.

Lawyers for Mrs Jackson have acknowledged the singer struggled with prescription medications but said he generally received anaesthesia and medications during medical and dental procedures. They rejected the characterisation of Jackson as an addict.

Jurors also heard from Cherilyn Lee, a nurse practitioner who told the court Jackson said he needed propofol to help him sleep in April 2009, a little more than two months before his death. Ms Lee said she warned Jackson that propofol was unsafe for home use and he might not wake up, but the singer insisted that doctors told him he would be fine as long as he was monitored. "His demeanour was, 'I have to have this. I have to have this to sleep. You don't understand, I have not had a good night's sleep'," Ms Lee said. Ms Lee did not give propofol to Jackson.

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