Conrad Murray trial: Doctor asked to 'not give up easily' on Michael Jackson, hospital physician says
Michael Jackson's private physician, Conrad Murray, asked doctors to "not give up easily" in their attempts to revive the singer, who appeared to be dead upon arrival at a Los Angeles hospital, says a cardiologist who tried to save the King of Pop.
Thao Nguyen, a cardiologist who works at UCLA Medical Center, also said at Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial on Monday, October 3, that he was unable to tell her much time had passed between the moment he discovered Jackson in a bedroom in his home, not breathing, and the time 911 was called, adding: "He said he did not have any concept of time, he did not have a watch."
NOTE: You can watch the proceedings online: OnTheRedCarpet.com is hosting a LIVE STREAM of the Conrad Murray trial, which began on September 27.
The King of Pop was pronounced dead at age 50 at the hospital at 2:26 p.m. on June 25, 2009 after suffering a cardiac arrest. Paramedics who tried to revive Jackson at his home and a UCLA Medical Center emergency room doctor, Richelle Cooper, have testified that the singer showed no signs of life when he was brought in at 1:13 p.m. Murray had accompanied the singer in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
After Jackson was brought into the emergency room, doctors in the emergency room tried to resuscitate him and restart his heart with a balloon pump, after discussing the procedure with Murray. Nguyen called this procedure a "desperate" but "futile" last attempt to revive the singer.
"Dr. Murray did ask me one thing ... that we not give up easily, and try to save Mr. Michael Jackson's life," Nguyen said. "It seems like a case of too late because Dr. Murray was not able to give me the time, or the time interval. What I feared was that time was not on Mr Jackson's side, that we were running too late."
"Even before the balloon pump placement, we made an agreement with Dr. Murray that this would be the last attempted procedure on Mr. Jackson," Nguyen added. "We'd like to prepare Dr. Murray mentally to accept the fact that Mr. Jackson could not be rescued and would allow Mr. Jackson to depart in peace and with dignity. So we proposed that if this would not work, we would call it stop. We would not try other procedures."
Murray, she said, "sounded desperate and he looked devastated." She said that Murray had told another doctor that he found a pulse on Jackson, but that the hospital physicians could not find one. Cooper had testified that she was also unsuccessful and said on Monday: "Mr. Jackson was my patient and I didn't really have an explanation for why he was dead. In my mind it was a coroner's case."
PROPOFOL NOT MENTIONED
Autopsy results have shown that Jackson died from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, which he called his "milk," and other sedatives. Murray, had said he gave Jackson a dose of propofol as a sleeping aid in his house on the day he died and has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Murray faces up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted. Murray's lawyers maintain that Jackson drank propofol on his own while the doctor was away from his bedside and that the dose Murray had administered was too low to be fatal.
Prosecutors have criticized Murray for not contacting emergency services before anyone else after he discovered Jackson laying unresponsive in a bedroom and say he lacked proper medical and monitoring equipment that would have alerted him about something wrong while the singer was out of his view.
One of the two paramedics who have testified so far during the trial said on September 30 that they tried to revive Jackson for more than 20 minutes after they arrived at his home. Cooper relayed to them through a hospital call center that based on the information given to her, they should pronounce him dead. This was at 12:57 p.m. on June 25, 2009 (LISTEN TO AN AUDIO RECORDING OF THIS PHONE CALL)
Murray assumed control of the situation - which a doctor is permitted to do - and told the paramedics to bring Jackson to the hospital. Cooper said this was the first time she had handled such a case, saying: "I have never given a time of death in the field and then have the patient brought to me."
As doctors attempted to revive Jackson, Cooper and Nguyen tried to obtain information from Murray about the singer's medication use. Cooper and Nguyen said he told them he had given Jackson 4 milligrams of the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam. They and the paramedics said the doctor never mentioned propofol to them.
"I asked him when was the time that the (lorezapam) was given," Nguyen testified. "He could not remember the time. He said he didn't know. He said he left but when he returned, he saw that the patient was not breathing. I asked him what time was that. He did not know either."
Prosecutors are trying to establish a full timeline of precisely what Murray was doing in the moments before Jackson's death.
Phone records show he called Jackson's assistant, Michael Amir Williams, around 12:13 p.m. on the day the singer died. Jackson's bodyguard, Alberto Alvarez, testified that Murray told him to grab several medicine vials before telling him to call 911. Emergency services were summoned around 12:22 p.m., one of the paramedics who tried to revive Jackson had said.
Representatives from two cell phone companies, AT&T and Sprint Nextel, confirmed that calls and data were made and sent from Murray's cell phone during the hour before emergency services were summoned to Jackson's home.
Dr. Joanne Bednarz-Prashad, a Texas physician, testified that one of Murray's former patients was set to undergo a medical procedure and still on a medication the doctor had prescribed.
Phone records show she contacted the doctor on June 25, 2009 at 10:20 a.m. She said she wanted to verify if the medication would had an adverse effect following the new procedure. She said Murray told her to postpone the operation until the patient took the medication he had prescribed for another month and a half.
Bridgette Morgan, a Los Angeles woman, said she had "formed a relationship" with Murray and had known him since 2003. She said she called the doctor at 11:26 a.m. on the day Jackson died but "he didn't answer."
Murray suspended his regular practices in Las Vegas and Houston in the spring of 2009 to take a $150,000-per-month job as Jackson's personal doctor while the singer was on his "This Is It" London tour. He had sent a letter to his patients telling them he had come across a "once in a lifetime opportunity" and would be taking a sabbatical.
Consuelo Ng, a medical volunteer at Murray's Las Vegas clinic, said the physician told her and her fellow staff members about his new gig and "that he's trying to get a competent doctor to oversee his patients in his absence. He mentioned that he'll probably be back towards the end of the year." Phone records show Murray called the Las Vegas clinic on June 25, 2009 at around 11:18 a.m.
The records also show that on the same day, one of Murray's former patients, Las Vegas woman Antoinette Gill, called the doctor at 8:49 a.m. She said she was familiar with Murray's letter referencing his "once in a lifetime opportunity." Gill added during her "very short" phone conversation with Murray, she sought a referral to another doctor but did not receive one.
Another former patient, Robert Russell, said Murray told him about Jackson before he notified his staff. He said he was initially excited for the doctor but later felt "abandoned" by him after an appointment was canceled and he did not receive a referral to another doctor, as he says he had been promised.
Don't forget: In addition to supplying you with full details about the case, OnTheRedCarpet.com will provide a live stream of the Conrad Murray trial, Monday to Friday, from 8:45 a.m. PT / 11:45 a.m. PT. The judge has said it is set to end on October 28.