Lethal Levels of Propofol
The preliminary coroner findings unsealed Monday show that singer Michael Jackson’s death two months ago, was caused by “lethal levels of propofol.”
Texas court documents, used to search the Houston office and storage unit of Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, begin to fill in the picture of what happened to the superstar in the last day of his life. The affidavit of a Los Angeles police detective was included in the search warrant application, revealing what Dr. Murray told investigators.
The search warrants reveal that Dr. Murray said he administered an IV drip of 50 milligrams of propofol (Diprivan), an anesthetic, diluted with lidocaine, to Jackson for six weeks to help him sleep, reports the New York Times.
Besides propofol, Jackson’s bedside table included bottles of medications prescribed by Dr. Murray to Jackson - the anti-anxiety drug, lorazepam (Ativan) , and diazepam (Valium),which can depress breathing, and the muscle relaxer midazolam, among other drugs being used to treat Jackson’s insomnia.
In the early morning hours of June 25th, Dr. Murray administered propofol and a cocktail of other drugs, over the next nine hours. When he returned from a two minute bathroom break at 10:40 a.m., the documents show, he saw Jackson was not breathing.
Dr. Murray then used flumazenil, a drug to reverse the effects of sedatives in his system. He continued cardiopulmonary resuscitation but waited about 82 minutes before calling the paramedics to the rented Holmby Hills home.
Anesthesiologist Dr. Robert R. Kirby tells the Times, “There’s no drug that reverses propofol per se.”
When paramedics arrived, investigators say Dr. Murray did not tell them he had given Jackson propofol. He later told the doctor treating Jackson at the UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson was declared dead. The Times reports that medical experts believe the combination of drugs would have exacerbated the effect of propofol.
Manslaughter charges may be prepared against Dr. Murray, who claims he was trying to wean Jackson off propofol, which Jackson referred to as his “milk” because of its milky appearance. For his services, Dr. Murray was paid $150,000 a month.
Still unclear is how Jackson obtained drugs, but the documents show he used aliases and had two unidentified German doctors and an anesthesiologist in Las Vegas. At least six doctors are mentioned in the documents as individuals who at one time had treated Jackson.
Jackson’s former nurse, Cherilyn Lee, has already told investigators that Michael Jackson asked her to obtain propofol for him, saying he’d pay whatever it cost. She would not and says she advised him to go to the hospital when he told her one side of his body was hot and the other side was cold.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that from 1999 to 2004, unintentional poisoning death from prescription drugs sleeping pills, antidepressants, and tranquilizers grew 84 percent to 20,950 deaths, overtaking cocaine and heroin combined as the leading cause of lethal overdose.
Toxicology reports are yet to be released in the Jackson case as the investigation into Dr. Murray continues. #