Jacksons v AEG Timeline Legal

It was like leaving a baby sleeping on a kitchen top: Murray trial update

By | Published on Thursday 13 October 2011

Conrad Murray

The cardiologist who reviewed Conrad Murray’s treatment of Michael Jackson for the California medical board presented six key failings in court yesterday, concluding that “if these deviations hadn’t happened, Mr Jackson would have been alive”.

Murray, of course, is accused of causing Michael Jackson’s death by negligently administering the drug propofol. But the doctor claims that the late king of pop must have administered another shot of the powerful anaesthetic while he was out of the room, and that it was that shot that killed him.

Dr Alon Steinberg listed the errors made by Murray for the jury, most of which had already been covered in other prosecution testimonies, though not quite so succinctly. Mistake one, administering propofol for sleep when it is meant for anesthesia. Mistake two, giving it at home rather than in a hospital. Three, not being prepared for an emergency with back-up staff and life-saving equipment. Four, not taking proper measures to try to revive Jackson once the doctor saw he wasn’t breathing. Five, not calling for an ambulance immediately. Six, not keeping proper records.

Just to hammer home the accused’s most fundamental mistake, Steinberg concluded: “I’ve never heard of anyone using propofol for sleep except Dr Murray”.

Concurring with medical examiner Dr Christopher Rogers, who testified on Tuesday, Steinberg added that even if the jury believed Murray’s claims that Jackson actually self-administered the fatal shot of propofol, the doctor is still guilty of negligence for leaving such drugs within easy reach of his unattended patient. Steinberg told the court: “It’s like leaving a baby that’s sleeping on your kitchen countertop. You might look at it – and it’s probably going to be OK and you’re just going to go grab some diapers or go to the bathroom – but you would never do it”.

Elsewhere in yesterday’s proceedings the defence told the judge it was dropping one element of its self-administration argument, that Jackson might have drunk the fatal shot of propfol. The defence previously argued that the presence of propofol in Jackson’s stomach suggested the singer, desperate to sleep, may have taken the drug orally. The theory helped answer those who question whether or not a drugged up Jackson would be capable of injecting himself with another shot of propofol.

However, yesterday the defence conceded that research – including one piece of work they themselves commissioned – showed that when consumed orally the affects of propofol would be slight, and it’s unlikely that if the drug was taken that way it could have caused Jackson to go into cardiac arrest. But the defence will stick with their theory that Jackson himself injected the fatal shot.

The case continues.