In and Out: Life in our Hands (Part 1)

©2011 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 7 November 2011: 5 years 2 months on … Deuce

Michael Jackson died at the age of 50.

His personal physician, Conrad Murray, was accused of “involuntary manslaughter”.

Conrad Murray / Michael jackson

(As I write this, it has just been announced that a verdict will be delivered by the jury in that plainly furnished courtroom on the ninth floor of the LA Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles in about an hour’s time i.e. 11pm SA time / 1pm Pacific Time.)

Over the last five weeks I have closely followed the court case on Sky News most evenings from 18h00 our time until sometimes as late as 02h00 in the morning (LA Pacific Time from 09h00 till 17h00 – USA DST).

LA Law live! The ultimate in reality shows playing itself off right in front of my eyes.

 At times the courtroom could have passed for a medical lecture theatre: experts with saline drip stands and complicated graphs demonstrating the half-life of benzodiazepines and explaining sedation thresholds and titration techniques.

Besides benzodiazepines, this class in pharmacology has familiarised me with Demorol, Lorazepam, Midazolam and Propofol.  Michael, clearly a keen student of pharmaceuticals, was found by the coroner to have died from an overdose of Propofol together with a cocktail of these sedatives given to help him sleep.

David Walgren

David Walgren, the prosecuting attorney “for the People”, accused Conrad Murray of infusing a dose of Propofol and leaving his patient to die.

Calmly and collectedly, Walgren painstakingly explained “the lah” and presented his case, calling amongst others, Propofol expert Dr Steven Shafer and Michael’s security and domestic personnel.

Dr White / Dr Shafer

Grenada-born cardiologist “Dr Mirray” denies the charge.

The iPad-wielding defence attorneys Ed Chernoff and melancholy Michael Flanagan and their star witness Dr Paul White (dubbed as the Father of Propofol) tried to debunk the prosecution claim.

The Defence Team: Flanagan and Chernoff

They argued that Michael was a person suffering from a litany of medical problems such as incontinence, insomnia, and mental instability. He was a desperate addict who self-medicated the drugs and would have killed himself accidentally, anyway. He caused his own untimely death on 25 June 2009 on the eve of an ill-fated series of 50 comeback shows in London.

(As I write, Conrad Murray has been found guilty of “involuntary manslaughter” by the jury – “So say you one so say you all” – and as a convicted felon, has been handcuffed and led away to jail, pending sentencing later this month.)

Michael Jackson, the spectre hanging over court proceedings, was dubbed various things during his life. In the courtroom he was referred to by defence attorney Flanagan as “the elephant in the room” and, inadvertently, on one occasion, as Mr Lorazepam!

Most famously, he was known as The King of Pop.

As the King of Pop, he created his own reality.

No longer is he the living King of Pop.

As did Conrad Murray create his own reality.

No longer is he the doctor.


(to be continued …)


The King of Pop