After only a week since prosecutors wrapped up the questioning of several witnesses in the case of Dr. Conrad Murray, a jury announced Monday that Michael Jackson’s physician has been found guilty of negligence and of ultimately causing the death of the world renowned pop star.
As we previously discussed last week on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog, Murray was accused of the wrongful death of Jackson after the Los Angeles County coroner ruled that the singer died from an overdose of propofol, an anesthetic. Jackson died while he was under the care of Murray, who admitted that he had been giving the singer, and his friend, propofol to help Jackson sleep. However, the doctor claimed that he did not give Jackson the fatal dose of the anesthetic.
During the trial, the jury heard from nearly 50 witnesses over a period of 23 days. The defense argued that Jackson’s overdose was self-inflicted. According to court records, the defense claimed that Murray had left Jackson unattended in his bedroom for only a few minutes. However, the doctor had also left a syringe near Jackson while he was alone. Murray claimed that he returned to Jackson’s room to find him unresponsive and he believed that Jackson had used the syringe to self-inject the fatal dose of propofol while Murray was not in the room.
However, prosecutors called several medical experts to the stand who testified that in their professional opinions, Murray had failed to follow the standard of care when treating Jackson because Murray should not have used the anesthetic to help the pop star sleep.
Although Murray claimed that he was only trying to help his patient sleep, medical experts and prosecutors argued that doctors must continue to follow the standard of care when treating their patients. They also argued that doctors must be held accountable when they choose to divert from proper medical practices. After deliberating for several hours, the jury agreed.
The jury concluded that Jackson’s death was caused from an overdose of the drug that had been administered intravenously by Murray.
As a result of the conviction, Murray now risks having his medical license revoked. The Medical Board of California has already announced that the doctor’s license is suspended, but further investigations will determine whether or not the medical board will completely strip Murray of his ability to practice medicine in the future.
Source: CNN, “Lawyer: Dr. Conrad Murray’s ‘confident’ about appeal,” Alan Duke, Nov. 8, 2011