Conrad Murray trial: Michael Jackson's doctor never mentioned propofol, paramedic says
The first paramedic to reach Michael Jackson's bedroom on the day he died says the singer's doctor, Conrad Murray, told him he administered only one drug to the King of Pop, and did not mention the word "propofol," an anesthetic he had been giving him as a sleeping aid.
Richard Senneff of the Los Angeles City Fire Department made his comments at Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial on Friday, September 30. NOTE: You can watch the proceedings online: OnTheRedCarpet.com is hosting a LIVE STREAM of the Conrad Murray trial.
Another paramedic who treated Jackson, Martin Blount, said he observed three bottles of lidocaine, a local anesthetic and antiarrhythmic drug, on the floor of Jackson's room. Murray made no mention of them when asked about the singer's medications, he said.
Senneff also said that Jackson appeared to have been in cardiac arrest for longer than five minutes, which is the amount of time it took paramedics to reach him, estimating the duration to be from 20 minutes to an hour. They never saw any signs of life from the singer, he added.
Autopsy results have shown that Jackson died at age 50 from an overdose of 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's lawyers say he gave Jackson 25 mg of propofol on the day he died and that Jackson took lorazepam, an anti-anxiety agent, and an additional dose of propofol while the doctor was away from his bedside. Murray faces up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license if convicted.
Senneff said on the day the singer died, he and several other firefighters responded to a call at 12:22 p.m.- two minutes after Alberto Alvarez called 911 right after Murray's request, and arrived at the singer's rented Los Angeles home at 12:26 p.m. Security guards directed them upstairs to Jackson's bedroom.
Senneff said he was the first one to reach the second floor. He said when he entered the room, he saw Murray, who he observed was "frantic," and a security guard - who would later turn out to be Alvarez - attempting to move Jackson from the bed to the floor so they could have more space to work. The singer wore pajamas and a cap over his head and already an IV tube connected to his left calf, Senneff said.
Paramedics then worked to revive the singer as he tried to gather information from Murray. Senneff said Jackson appeared pale, underweight and "looked like he a chronic health problem." He asked Murray if the singer had an underlying condition. Senneff said the doctor only responded to him after he asked three times. He quoted Murray as saying: "Nothing, he has nothing."
"That did not add up to me," Senneff added. "Doctor's in the house, IV hooked up to the patient. It didn't seem normal. When I didn't get what I felt was a satisfactory answer, I said the reason I'm asking is I see an underweight patient, I see an IV and I see medication vials on the nightstand."
Senneff said Murray then told him he was treating Jackson for "dehydration and exhaustion" and that he "gave him a little bit of lorazepam to sleep."
"He never mentioned the word propofol," Senneff said.
Blount did not hear the mention of lorazepam and said Murray told Senneff that Jackson: "was rehearsing for 16 hours. He was very dehydrated. He came home and wanted to get rehydrated."
Jackson was rehearsing for his comeback "This Is It" UK tour before his death. Hi co-director, Kenny Ortega, said the singer appeared unwell days beforehand.PARADEMICS FEEL NO PULSE
Senneff said he asked Murray how long Jackson was out and that the doctor told him "It just happened right when I called you." Blount quoted the doctor as saying: "He's been down for about one minute."
Attempts to revive Jackson were unsuccessful.
"His skin was very cool to the touch," Senneff said. "His eyes were open. They were dry and his pupils we dilated. When I hooked up the EKG machine, it was flatline."
The paramedics gave Jackson medications aimed at restarting his heart. They had no effect on the singer, Senneff said, adding that after one of the rounds of drugs, Murray "had retrieved a couple of the medications and was using the IV port in the leg. In doing so. He pulled the IV out of the leg."
Senneff said paramedics tried to insert another IV into veins elsewhere in Jackson's body but could not locate one. Senneff added that Murray told them he could feel a pulse on the right side of the singer's groin. None of the rescue workers could feel one there or anywhere else, Senneff said.
"The heart monitor was a clean flatline, he said. "It means the heart was not functioning electrically. So I didn't feel that there could be a pulse. I then checked for a pulse myself and also one of the other firefighters checked for a pulse. I did not feel one at all."
Senneff later stated that a false pulse can be felt as a result of CPR efforts. He and Blount said paramedics moved Jackson's body onto a backboard, took him down the stairs, then put him on a gurney.
Senneff said he returned upstairs to get equipment they had left in the room, where Murray had remained. The doctor was picked up items from the floor and put them into a bag, he said. Blount later testified that he saw Murray putting the three lidocaine bottles into a black bag.
MICHAEL JACKSON 'CLINICALLY DEAD'
During the efforts to revive Jackson at his home, Senneff called UCLA Medical Center and described the situation, calling Jackson a "high-profile," "VIP" person.
He said the nurse at the call center who talked to him was in contract with a doctor. This would later be revealed to the jury as emergency room physician Richelle Cooper, who testified that she did not know Jackson was the patient in question and that based on the information given to her, the singer was "clinically dead."
Senneff confirmed that paramedics administered drugs to try and bring Jackson out of cardiac arrest for 21 minutes. Cooper later told the jury that protocol states that 20 minutes of unsuccessful resuscitation efforts are sufficient to pronounce someone dead.
Senneff later said: "Was I uncomfortable with calling it? I would have preferred to continue (revival efforts). Because it was a VIP yes but also because potentially it was a recent (cardiac) arrest."
Blount said that at this time, Murray requested to assume control of Jackson's care. Cooper said protocol states that a physician can do so in such a circumstance but would have to transport the patient to a local hospital and travel with the person in the ambulance.
Senneff said the doctor wanted Jackson to be taken to the hospital. Hes said he requested additional resuscitation efforts, such as the insertion of a central line into the singer's chest artery, and different medications, such as magnesium, which some experts believe could help restart the heart during cardiac arrest, and sodium bicarbonate, an antacid. The paramedics did not possess such materials, nor did Murray.
When asked by a defense attorney if he felt the doctor did everything in his power to help Jackson at that time, Senneff said: "Yes."
Murray rode in the ambulance with the paramedics as they transported Jackson to UCLA Medical Center. Senneff and Blount said that during the ride, the singer still showed no signs of life and that the doctor spoke on his cell phone. Blount quoted Murray as telling someone over the phone: "'It's about Michael and it doesn't look good."
'NO SIGNS OF TRAUMA'
When they arrived at the hospital, Cooper and other medical officials were waiting for them. Cooper said the time was about 1:13 p.m. At this point, she was aware Jackson was the patient she was set to treat. She said additional security personnel and more than a dozen medical professionals were summoned. When he arrived, he was "clinically dead," she said.
She said she spoke with Murray to get information about the singer's medical history while doctors worked in the emergency room to try to revive him.
"He reported he had not been ill," she said. "There were no physical signs of trauma. I was told that Mr. Jackson had been working very long hours and Dr. Murray thought he had been dehydrated."
She quoted the doctor as saying that he had given Jackson a dose of 2 mg of lorazapam, then gave him an additional dose of the amount amount of the drug, and then observed that the singer had gone into cardiac arrest.
Cooper said she also asked Murray what medications Jackson took regularly. She said the doctor cited two - Valium, a sedative and an anti-anxiety agent, and Flomax, which she described as "a medication that relaxes urinary smooth muscle, generally given to an individual with a large prostate who is frequently urinating. Can also be given to ... individuals who have a kidney stone."
Blount and the singer's bodyguard said they saw a condom catheter on Jackson's genitals when they discovered him in his bedroom. The device is used to collect urine.
Jackson would eventually be pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center at 2:26 p.m.
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT REP, MURRAY EX-PATIENT SPEAK
Prosecutors say the doctor demonstrated "gross negligence" in his treatment of Jackson and that one of the way he demonstrated this was by lacking proper medical equipment to care for him. On Friday, the jury also heard from Robert Johnson, who works for Nonin Medical, a company that manufactures non-invasive physiological medical equipment, including pulse oximeters.
He said the model Murray used on Jackson was cheaper than others available and did not contain an alarm, so the doctor would be forced to look at its readings constantly to determine if they were off.
Senneff, Blount and other witnesses, such as the singer's assistant, the first person Murray is believed to have called when he discovered Jackson to be unresponsive, have said they observed an oxygen tank inside the singer's bedroom.
Also on Friday, one of Murray's former patients in Las Vegas, Robert Russell testified that while Murray saved his life after a heart attack, he felt "abandoned" after the doctor told him he was leaving his practice to care solely for Jackson. Listen to the voicemail Murray left Russell at 11:49 a.m. on June 25, 2009, minutes before the doctor called the singer's assistant for help and also before he told Alvarez to call 911.