Conrad Murray's Mistakes, Part 4: When Michael Jackson collapsed, story spun out of doc's control

Published on
February 26, 2010

Here's where you have to pity Dr. Conrad Murray, regardless of whether you think he's guilty.

Michael Jackson is begging for something to help him sleep, so Murray doses him with a powerful anesthetic. He does this in Jackson's bedroom without any of the proper equipment or staff around to help. And, when Jackson starts to overdose, he can't revive him. And he can't control the story.

In a hospital or clinic, if a doctor makes a bad call, he will be among people who have had near misses of their own.

The Texas nurse who recently was vindicated in a whistle-blowing case did not go to the cops with her concerns about a physician. She went to the Texas Medical Board.

If Murray had been treating Jackson for a legitimate condition that required anesthesia and Jackson had died, the finger probably would have been pointed at the anesthesiologist first. And second, Murray would have had numerous people in the hospital that could have vouched for his good intentions and skilled handling of an emergency.

"Officer, I honestly believe that there was nothing else Dr. Murray could have done to save Michael Jackson," the nurse would have said. "Don't you think that we all wanted to save him? He was the greatest pop singer since Little Richard!"

In Jackson's entourage, though, no one had any reason to feel loyalty to Murray or camaraderie with him.

Thus one of Jackson's bodyguards told Sky News that the singer's doctors "have blood on their hands." His personal chef detailed the day-of-death timeline for Linda Deutsch at The Associated Press and wondered ominously about the purpose of the oxygen tanks Murray used to bring down from Jackson's bedroom every morning. Murray's own girlfriend didn't help Murray, it seems, by telling police that he had called her before anyone had made the 911 call.

This doesn't mean that doctors and nurses always protect each other. But there is a shared understanding that every case is risky and no one will have a perfect, death-free career.

Related posts:

Conrad Murray's Mistakes Part 1: Why does Michael Jackson's doctor face criminal charges when others don't?

Conrad Murray's Mistakes Part 2: Lack of training fueled criminal case in Michael Jackson death

Conrad Murray's Mistakes Part 3: Using a hospital-only drug in Michael Jackson' bedroom

Wrong doctor or wrong patient? Michael Jackson's physician has some explaining to do

To see Michael Jackson doctor's alleged slipup, look at the label

Court records show Jackson's doctor acting more like a dealer

Doctors Behaving Badly: Michael Jackson's doctor can add "deadbeat dad" to his resume

Q&A with Dr. John Dombrowski: Michael Jackson's bungled pain management may have killed him

Q&A with Dr. John Dombrowski, Part 2: Anesthetizing Michael Jackson "indefensible"

Making Hepatitis History Part 1: Michael Jackson's deadly drug strikes again

Q&A with Dr. Doris K. Cope: Michael Jackson was just a symptom of a pain medicine problem