Doctor On Trial…
Hey, Doc! How’re you doing? :)
Well, I hope no one would crucify me with this question but I’m just curious. What do you think about Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray’s trial for manslaughter?
Thanks and have a good day. :)
Ooh, excellent question, William Jean. The whole situation is a real thriller, and I don’t think there are many black or white answers. Murray’s behavior during and after the whole CPR/911/hospital scene (such as hiding the propofol in the closet) is very iffy — but as we’ve all learned from OJ and Casey Anthony, when it comes to a criminal charge, sometimes a bad person can still beat it. Is Murray a smooth criminal, or just a doctor who let himself practice WAYYYY outside of his training/experience in order to try to score some big bucks?
*ok, are you getting fed up with the song-title puns? You are not alone. I’ll stop now.*
So, here’s my thoughts on the case:
- Murray is a cardiologist. What the heck is a cardiologist doing, prescribing and administering anesthesiology medications and handling sleep issues? He appears to have been blinded by the dollar signs, letting his greed put him in a situation where he was out of his medical comfort zone — big mistake.
- ANY doctor going to work for a celebrity must be aware of all the media attention that they will receive. In that situation, it will be IMPOSSIBLE to keep secrets if you are fudging facts or trying to “doctor” the evidence when your patient dies. Murray seems pretty clueless about what he got himself into.
- Allegedly, Murray abandoned his patients in Vegas when he left to go work at Neverland. That’s poor medical ethics, and speaks volumes about his real priorities.
- News reports say that other doctors were simultaneously prescribing strong meds, such as Demerol, to Jackson too. When you’ve got a lot of prescribers tossing interacting meds into one patient, the risk of pharmacologic cross-reactions and side effects goes way up. There should’ve been just one doctor in charge of Jackson’s meds.
- At least a little bit of the blame has to fall on Jackson, too. (Do I hear the mob getting out their pitchforks and torches yet?) A patient who
bribes pays large amounts of money to a doctor for special personalized treatment ruins the doctor’s ability to maintain a sense of detachment. A doctor must be detached enough, emotionally and financially, to be aware when the patient’s demands are putting the patient at risk. Jackson created a situation where Murray would be hard-pressed to say “No” to any of Jackson’s demands, even if Murray had little/no experience in dealing with the specifics of Jackson’s medical issues. Even a Critical-Care Anesthesiologist would have had a hard time making unbiased medically-correct decisions in a situation like this one. “Hmm, if I give him cocktails of meds to sleep, he might die — but if I don’t give him the meds, I’ll lose my sweet cash-cow job. What to do?”
And that’s all I have to say about that. I predict that even if Murray doesn’t lose his license, he’s not going to be able to maintain a (reputable) medical practice after all the fall-out.
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