More paramedics, emergency room personnel testify against Michael Jackson's doctor

16:32, January 07, 2011      

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More paramedics and emergency room doctors testified Thursday against Conrad Murray, the late pop icon Michael Jackson's personal physician who is accused of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the singer's death.

At a preliminary hearing held in a downtown Los Angeles court, which drew into the third day, Dr. Richelle Coope testified that Murray did not say he had given Jackson propofol, a powerful anesthetic generally administered only in hospital setting for sedating patients, when she asked the doctor what medications Jackson was on after the King of Pop was sent by ambulance to UCLA Medical Center about six-minute drive from the singer's home.

Only the anxiety medication lorazepam was administered, Murray replied, according to Cooper. The superstar was dead on arrival at the hospital, she added.

Cooper said she had been in contact with paramedics who went to Jackson's estate and told them there was nothing that could be done for the singer

Los Angeles County coroners ruled that Jackson, 50, died of acute propofol intoxication at his newly rented Holmby Hills estate on June 25, 2009.

The hearing was held to determine if there is enough evidence for Murray, 57, to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, the physician faces up to four years behind bars.

Prosecutors contend that Murray failed to tell paramedics or doctors that he had administered propofol to the singer and took steps that were an "extreme deviation from the standard of care." They also allege that Murray and security personnel collected drug vials and other materials from the room before calling 911.

Murray is also said to be making phone calls instead of monitoring Jackson's condition after administering the propofol.

Dr. Thao Nguyen, a cardiology fellow at UCLA, testified that she was introduced to Murray at the hospital and asked him what had happened. Murray told Nguyen that Jackson, who had been rehearsing for a series of comeback concerts in London, was very tired but had difficulty sleeping and required some medications to help him rest, she said.

The doctor said she asked Murray what medications Jackson was given, and Murray mentioned only lorazepam.

Doctors worked on Jackson from the time the ambulance arrived at 1:13 p.m. until 2:26 p.m., when the singer was pronounced dead, according to Nguyen.

Earlier in the day, a paramedic testified that Murray insisted that Jackson be taken to the hospital.

Citing the temperature of Jackson's skin and the fact his eyes were fixed and dilated, firefighter/paramedic Martin Blount testified, "It seemed like he (had) been down for a little while." He said the singer looked as if he had not been breathing for at least 20 minutes, despite Murray's assertion that the singer had stopped breathing only about one minute before paramedics were called.

In a testimony delivered on Wednesday, another paramedic Richard Senneff testified that he believed the superstar was already dead by the time they arrived at the home about four minutes after the 911 call. The pop icon appeared to have stopped breathing anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour before paramedics arrived at Jackson's estate, he said.

The paramedic pressed Murray for information, and the doctor eventually said he was treating Jackson for dehydration and exhaustion and had given him the anxiety medication lorazepam, Senneff said.

Between 20 and 30 witnesses are scheduled to be called by the prosecution at the preliminary hearing. The hearing, which began Tuesday, is expected to last seven to eight days.

Source: Xinhua
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