Friday 15 December 2017

Jackson's doctor 'did not follow guidelines'

Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles

A KEY defence expert witness was forced to admit yesterday that Dr Conrad Murray -- who is accused of the manslaughter of Michael Jackson -- broke guidelines in treating the star.

Veteran anaesthesiologist Dr Paul White had to acknowledge that Dr Murray deviated from the correct standard of care when repeatedly questioned about errors made in treating the superstar.

Dr White accepted that the type of pulse monitor Dr Murray was using on Jackson's finger was inadequate to properly monitor the singer when the physician left the room.


Dr Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, has acknowledged he was giving Jackson doses of the anaesthetic propofol in the singer's bedroom as a sleep aid.

He told police that he left Jackson's room for two minutes on June 25, 2009, and returned to find the superstar unresponsive.

Dr White told jurors that he would not have given Jackson propofol in the way that Dr Murray had been giving it to him -- outside a clinical setting and in a way that differed from its intended purpose.

The retired anaesthesiologist also said he would not leave the room if he were treating a patient who had indicated he liked to inject propofol into himself, as Dr Murray claims that Jackson had told him.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor had to interrupt testimony and admonish Dr White after the researcher repeatedly referenced conversations he had with Dr Murray. The judge has excluded testimony about those discussions.

"Dr White is trying to offer a response he thinks is helpful," Judge Pastor said of the comments. At one point, Dr White said he had been told that Jackson had his own stash of propofol beyond the large quantities that Dr Murray had purchased and shipped to his girlfriend's apartment.

Judge Pastor warned Dr White not to try to bring up the conversations or other excluded information again. "It's deliberate and I don't like it," he said.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren pointedly questioned Dr White, a retired professor and clinical researcher, about the circumstances of Dr Murray's care based on his interview with police two days after Jackson's death.

Dr White told jurors last week that he believes all the evidence shows that Jackson self-administered propofol when Dr Murray left the room.

Later, Dr White said Dr Murray's treatment of Jackson was different from how propofol is supposed to be used -- as an anaesthetic used in hospital or clinical settings.

"This was an unusual case because the doctor was trying to allow the patient to achieve a sleep state," Dr White said.


Dr White retired last year after conducting research on propofol before it was approved for use in the United States. He told jurors that he has been paid $11,000 for his work on the case so far.

His testimony has put him at odds with his colleague and longtime friend, Dr Steven Shafer, who testified for the prosecution.

Dr Shafer said Dr White's self-administration theory is not supported by the evidence in the case, in his view, and he called the theory "crazy" during his testimony earlier this month.

Dr White and Dr Shafer were colleagues at Stanford University and both conducted research on propofol prior to its approval in 1989.

Irish Independent

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