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Murray lied about Jackson's medication: paramedic

(Xinhua)

17:33, October 01, 2011

Dr. Conrad Murray (L) looks on during Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles September 28, 2011.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- A paramedic who was among the first emergency responders who went into the late pop superstar Michael Jackson's rented Holmby Hills mansion in response to a 911 call testified on Friday that the singer's personal physician failed to tell him and his co-workers that he had given Jackson Propofol, the surgical anesthetic that led to his death.

Conrad Murray, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter stemming from Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, also did not tell the truth regarding the timeframe the singer stopped breathing, Richard Senneff said.

Echoing a series of prosecution witnesses who took the stand in earlier proceedings, Senneff told the court that he found the doctor in a "frantic" state in the moments after the singer was found unresponsive to efforts to revive him.

Senneff found Murray and a security guard were moving Jackson from the bed to the carpeted floor when he arrived in the second-floor bedroom, the situation "did not seem normal" at the scene, he said.

Murray failed to answer his questions regarding Jackson's underlying health issue for the first two times he asked, and eventually denied there was any underlying issue. "Simply, that did not add up to me," Sennoff told a seven-men, five-women jury at the Los Angeles Superior Court as the court proceedings against Murray went into the fourth day.

The emergency responder said Jackson appeared "underweight" and looked like he had "a chronic health problem."

When he quizzed Murray what medications Jackson had been taking, the cardiologist didn't mention Propofol, the very drug which played a vital role in the singer's death.

"He said, 'No he's not taking anything,' then he followed that up by saying, 'I just gave him a little bit of Lorazepam to help him sleep," Senneff said.

Considering Murray's representation that the patient had "just" lost consciousness when the 911 call was made, the paramedic said he arrived believing they had a good chance of reviving Jackson. Yet by all indications -- his cold skin, dry eyes and dilated pupils -- Jackson appeared already dead, Senneff recalled.

When paramedics hooked up an EKG, Jackson was flatlining, and the drugs paramedics gave Jackson in order to re-start his heart had no effect.

The second time that paramedics attempted to administer starter drugs to Jackson, they weren't able to find a vein, which suggested that blood circulation might have stopped earlier than expected, according to the paramedic.

The medical professionals tried to revive Jackson for 47 minutes in vain. Murray refused to let them declare a time of death, according to Senneff.

Even as paramedics and emergency hospital personnel got ready to declare the star dead, Murray insisted he felt a pulse in the singer's right thigh, Senneff said.

"When I first moved the patient, his skin was very cool to the touch," Senneff said.

The paramedic testified that he saw Murray with a bag in his hand and picking up items from the floor near a nightstand as paramedics were preparing to take Jackson to the hospital, then joined them downstairs at the ambulance, where another round of drugs was given to try to restart the singer's heart.

Paramedic Martin Blount, who rushed to Jackson's rented home with Senneff to resuscitate the superstar, confirmed most of Senneff's testimony, including that Murray said nothing about administering Propofol to the pop icon.

Blount also testified that he saw multiple bottles of Lidocaine, an anti-arrhythmic medication and local anesthetic. Murray never said anything about giving Jackson Lidocaine, Blount testified.

Richelle Cooper, the ER physician at Ronald Reagan Medical Center, UCLA, who first tended to Jackson's body at the hospital, testified that Murray misled her about Jackson's condition by telling her that the singer was dehydrated.

Murray claimed he had only administered 4 mg of Lorazepam to the King of Pop, and he never mentioned Propofol, Cooper testified.

Jackson's personal physician also told Cooper that Jackson had no history of cardiac trouble, blood clots or drug use, and hadn't complained of chest pain or exhibited seizure activity, she told the court.

Cooper's testimony also conformed to what other witnesses testified earlier in the day, that the pop superstar had already been dead before he was transferred to the hospital.

"He did not have a pulse ... his eyes were fixed and dilated," she said.

Prosecutors accused Murray, 58, of having given Jackson Propofol, a powerful sedative, and then failing to monitor him, leaving the bedroom for 45 minutes to send emails and make phone calls.

They contended that the cardiologist "repeatedly acted with gross negligence, repeatedly denied care, appropriate care to his patient, Michael Jackson, and that it was Dr. Murray's repeated incompetence and unskilled acts that led to Mr. Jackson's death on June 25, 2009."

Defense attorneys argued Murray was weaning Jackson off the medication, but that the singer "self-administered" a lethal dose.

The trial is expected to last four to five weeks. Murray, who is set free on a bail of 75,000 U.S. dollars, faces up to four years in prison if convicted of felony charge.

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