Monday, November 07, 2011

Conrad Murray Verdict

First and foremost, this was not the Michael Jackson case, or the Michael Jackson verdict as it has been variously described by the mainstream media. This was the Conrad Murray case, and a verdict which represents just how far we, as a society, have come from accepting responsibility for our own actions.

Evidence was very clear that Michael Jackson was doctor-shopping, had spoken with several physicians, including his plastic surgeon, and had urgently requested propofol to be administered even after being told, repeatedly, that the use
of this drug might result in his death.

Propofol is considered a short-acting, intravenous hypnotic agent and it's use in hospitals is never questioned. Clearly, there are questions about its use outside of a hospital setting, but the last defense witness, a medical expert on propofol, said it was entirely possible that Jackson could have injected himself with the lethal dose. Does that not constitute "reasonable doubt?"

Moreover, Michael Jackson was relentless in his pursuit of a drug that he knew might jeopardize his life, reportedly seeing many doctors until he managed to prevail upon his personal physician, Dr. Murray, a man who was also a personal friend, to give him a drug that was used only in a hospital setting.

Bottom line: whether Michael Jackson directly injected a lethal dose into his vein or not, Michael Jackson was responsible for his own death. He was aware of the risk factor and, being fully apprised of the risk factor, continued along a path that could only lead to his demise.

It seems to me that Dr. Murray was guilty of blurring the lines between personal physician and personal friend. He crossed a boundary, and compromised a requisite professional distance that was needed in order to do what was best for Jackson the patient, and not Jackson the friend.

Moreover, why this case went directly to criminal charges instead of the usual medical malpractice suit which appears to have more to do with Jackson's fame than with any misconduct on the part of his personal physician.

What happened today in that courtroom is, plain and simple, a tragedy compounded upon a tragedy. Not only was Michael Jackson's life needlessly cut short, but the life of a much-respected and, judging by witness testimony, much-loved physician who will doubtless be spared a four year sentence, but who will lose his license to practice medicine. Today's verdict renders Dr. Murray every bit as much a victim as Mr. Jackson