Drug mix killed Jackson, witness says
LOS ANGELES - Dr. Conrad Murray’s use of a cocktail of drugs on Michael Jackson as he struggled to fall asleep on the day he died was a “recipe for disaster’’ and ultimately caused his death, a UCLA sleep therapy specialist testified yesterday.
Dr. Nader Kamanger described Murray’s treatment as “unethical, disturbing, and beyond comprehension.’’
Under questioning by Murray’s lawyer, J. Michael Flanagan, the witness was asked to tell jurors what he knew about the events of June 25, 2009, the day of Jackson’s death.
“To summarize, Mr. Jackson was receiving very inappropriate therapy in a home setting, receiving very potent therapies without monitoring,’’ Kamanger said.
He said Valium, lorazepam, and midazolam were given to the sleepless star during a 10-hour period.
Noting the addition of propofol, a powerful anesthetic used in surgeries, Flanagan asked: “Could this have caused death?’
“Absolutely,’’ Kamanger said.
Authorities say Murray gave Jackson a fatal dose of propofol. Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
The witness, one of the specialists who evaluated Murray’s actions for the California Medical Board, expressed dismay about the drugs Murray gave the pop star, his failure to immediately call 911 for help, and his lack of monitoring and record-keeping.
Murray was unable to produce written records on his treatment of Jackson, Kamanger noted.
“There were no records whatsoever,’’ he said. “It’s very easy to forget details. We do not rely on memory.’’
“So it’s your opinion that there’s no way he could have remembered what he did if he didn’t write it down?’’ Flanagan asked.
“It is an egregious violation of the standard of care when you are using sedatives like propofol and you are not writing it down,’’ Kamanger answered.
The defense lawyer pressed on, asking, “Because he didn’t write down the pulse rate, oxygen saturation, heart rate . . . that didn’t kill Michael Jackson, did it?’
“It’s a combination of factors,’’ said Kamanger.
“But not the cause of death?’’ asked Flanagan.
“It’s a contributing factor,’’ said the witness.
Murray could face up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted.