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'Lethal levels' of anesthetic propofol killed Michael Jackson


Michael Jackson died of "lethal levels" of the powerful anesthetic propofol, according to a search warrant affidavit unsealed today in Houston.

The court documents quote the L.A. County coroner's office as reaching that conclusion after an autopsy of the pop star.

The documents address one of the major unanswered questions surrounding Jackson's death. But they also raise new questions about how Jackson was treated, particularly in the hours before his death.

Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal doctor, told detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department that he had been treating Jackson for insomnia for about six weeks. He had been giving Jackson 50 milligrams of propofol every night using an intravenous line, according to the court records.

But Murray told detectives that he feared Jackson was forming an addiction and began trying to wean the pop star off the drugs. He lowered the dosage to 25 milligrams and mixed it with two other sedatives, lorazepam and midazolam. On June 23, two days before Jackson's death, he administered those two medications and withheld the propofol.

On the morning Jackson died, Murray tried to induce sleep without using propofol, according to the affidavit. He said he gave Jackson valium at 1:30 a.m. When that didn't work, he said, he injected lorazepam intravenously at 2 a.m. At 3 a.m., when Jackson was still awake, Murray administered midazolam.

Over the next few hours, Murray said he gave Jackson various drugs. Then at 10:40 a.m., Murray administered 25 milligrams of propofol after Jackson repeatedly demanded the drug, according to the court records.

Although Murray acknowledged to police that he administered propofol, authorities said they could find no evidence that he had purchased, ordered or obtained the medication under his medical license or Drug Enforcement Administration tracking number. However, police detectives saw about eight bottles of propofol in the house along with other vials and pills that had been prescribed to Jackson by Dr. Murray, Dr. Arnold Klein and Dr. Allan Metzger.

Other drugs that were confiscated in the search included valium, tamsulosin, lorazepam, temazepam, clonazepam, trazodone and tizanidine. They also found propofol in Murray’s medical bag. Murray told detectives that he was not the first doctor to administer the powerful anesthetic to Jackson.

At least two unidentified doctors gave Jackson propofol in Germany. Between March and April 2009, Murray said he called Las Vegas doctor David Adams at Jackson’s request to arrange for Adams to administer propofol. Murray said he was present at a cosmetologist’s office, where Adams used propofol to sedate Jackson. Since he began treating Jackson, Murray said he repeatedly asked the pop star what other physicians were treating Jackson and what drugs they were prescribing. But Jackson declined to provide the information, Murray told authorities.

Murray said he noticed injection marks on Jackson’s hands and feet. When he asked Jackson about them, the pop star told him he had been given a “cocktail” to help him. In addition to Murray, authorities subpoenaed medical records from Dr. Arnold Klein, Dr. Allan Metzger and Dr. David Adams, the affidavit states. They also asked for medical records from Dr. David Slavitt, who conducted the independent medical examination of Jackson for Anschutz Entertainment Group, Dr. Randy Rosen and nurse practitioner Cherilyn Lee. They also subpoenaed records from Dr. Mark Tadrissi, who stored medical records with Adams.

Jackson’s doctor told authorities he left Jackson’s bedside for no more than two minutes before returning to find the pop star not breathing. Jackson reportedly fell asleep at 10:40 a.m.
Murray said after monitoring Jackson for 10 minutes, he left to use the restroom. When he returned and saw Jackson wasn’t breathing at 11 a.m. He immediately began attempting to revive Jackson, administering CPR as well as a drug to reverse the effects of the sedative. But police are questioning that account. Cellphone records for the morning of June 25 show Murray made three separate phone calls for approximately 47 minutes beginning at 11:18 a.m.
He called Jackson’s personal assistant to request that they send security upstairs. After a few minutes without a response, Murray told authorities he ran downstairs to the kitchen. He asked the chef to send Jackson’s eldest son, Prince Jackson, upstairs. Murray said he continued CPR and waited for the arrival of paramedics.

Murray has already acknowledged obtaining and administering propofol to Jackson the morning that the pop star died. In an interview with police, Murray told them that he had left Jackson alone under the influence of the medication to make telephone calls to his Houston office and family members.

When he returned, he discovered Jackson was not breathing. He performed CPR, and one of Jackson’s staff members called 911. The 50-year-old pop star was rushed to UCLA Medical Center, where he was later declared dead. Much of the investigation has focused on propofol -- a drug typically administered by anesthesiologists during surgery -- and whether Murray’s decision to give it to Jackson as a sleep aid outside a hospital setting reaches a level of negligence required for an involuntary manslaughter charge.

-- Kimi Yoshino and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Conrad Murray. Credit AFP / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (213)

Has anyone in LA heard of the word NO? After reading about doctors like those involved with Jackson it is very hard to think about medicine as a profession, they sound more like drug pushers willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder. It's like referring to bookies as financial advisers, or pimps as personnel managers. They all seem to be operating on the same moral level.

oh my god i knew in my heart from the get go he was guilty RIP

I agree with Kelly everyone has a choice and from what I hear if you did not give MJ his way u were out the door and he would find someone that would give him his way. So there were some Dr's that may have dobe the right thing. As many resources he had available to him he could have made a different choice everyone holds some responsilbility here. As much as I love him he is at fault too,and I don't feel he resting peacefully they still can't make up their minds as to how to bury him he has been dead since June 25 it's is disgusting that he is not buried. The world ate him up and no one cared all they want to know is whats in it for them. MayGod have mercy on your soul all he wanted to do was sleep.Money don't mean nuttin when u behind bars or dead someone else will be spending it.

We don't give patients that many drugs in hospice. Both MJ and the Doc were in some deep delusion- maybe MJ was a special PERSON, but the human body is a human body no matter who owns it- and if you give a human body enough downers, even if it has a high tolerance, at some point it's gonna shut down, period. Very sad.

sad and tragic story.
mj's many millions allowed him the leverage to get whatever he wanted.
there are many who cannot afford the meds to help/heal/keep them alive and
well...mj used his monies in outrageous ways. how absurd to request such meds.
the docs had to inform him on what drugs could be obtained...what lay person
would know about such meds and then-yep-have them administered to them
in a way not normal for what he wanted.
money-money-money-money...greedy bunch...including mj.
what a waste of talent.

And who is the man in the photograph? You have a photograph with the article and you want us to guess who it is?

We all know that his doctor killed him. Micheal owed him millions and millions of $$$. I guess he got tired of waiting for MJ to pay back.

My take on this sad death, Dr's have a legal and human obligation to preserve life, what this Dr. did was criminal. No matter how many times MJ asked for this drug, the Dr. was in the position to say NO. His negligence caused this death, plain and simple. According to his former patients, Dr. Murray sent out letters telling them he had a opportunity that he could not pass up, and that he would not be available for them for about 1 yr. He was blinded by the money, and he made terrible choices, which he should pay for. No reputable Dr. would inject numerous sedatives every 1/2 hour., then follow up with Diprivan, then leave the room for about an hour and not monitor the patient. He will have to live with the guilt for the rest of his life.

Michael is better off at rest. Inner peace became less and less attainable the more successful he became. When life and its craziness, and the craziness it can give you, drives one to the point where true rest, physical and emotional is no longer possible, what is left? He would have had to leave the spotlight and the entertainment world completely to heal and find true contentment. He never would have done that.

No competent doctor would have EVER given that combination 0f drugs - not to mention the fact that no competent doctor would ever administer propofol for god sakes in a home!

Do people get that when you are administered propfol, your breathing, heart rate and the rest are monitored by machines for such purposes?

Good lord. I feel incredibly sorry for Michael. It seems that there were more people around him who just didn't care about anything other than their meal ticket. Not to say that there weren't good and loving folks in his life, I'm sure there were, but there sure seemed to be a huge plethora of unethical, greedy, soulless ones too.


Nothing new to see here. Just another death cause by the government approved drug pushers (the ones that have lobbyists). At least he wasn't smoking evil marijuana or something "illegal" like that. That would be dangerous.

The doctor was up from 1:30 a.m. until 10:40 a.m. trying to help Michael Jackson sleep. He had to be too tired think straight especially trying to cater to the demands of the King.

The Doctor Conrad Murray should of known better as a physician not to mix all those powerful drugs together he was a complete fool, and deserves to have his license ripped from him for not only doing something very "ILLEGAL" but for also LEAVING the patient unattended after administraing the anesthetic...not even an anesthesiologist will walk away from their patients when administering the drug...what are you on Crack doctor conrad....shame on YOU..I hope you never practice again...and for those who also aided in supplying all these drugs SHAME on you too and hope the book is thrown at you...Michael may have had an insomnia problem but you took it way too far....I hope you are able to live with yourselves with what you all have done..Michael is no longer here because of "YOU" I dont care how much money he offered or whatever as a medical professional you should of known better.

Well I guess this will be classified as a "pharmaceutical malfunction."

Lots of people use surgical grade anaesthetics ... and lots of people can get them under false names just as easily as any other medication, right? I'm sure if I went to my GP and told him I was having problems sleeping I'd be able to get a script of propofol just mailed to me...



MJ, just like many people who have enough money to spend was exploited/milked. Yes he did not decline the drug, but when someone is battling addiction and or depression do you provide them with a gun or place them on top of bridge without suicide barriers. When everyone around you in the entertainment industry, counselors, agents, even friends, wants to milk you like these doctors and would rather see you go another world tour then seek help ...
well that is disapointing and depressing. You gotta remember how many times the tabloids have milked MJ too whenever with all sorts of gossip, this propofol thing would have been another blow to his image, so he and apparently many around probably followed direct orders to keep this secret, and kept cashing in the cheque. I'll never know why the worst decision are always more profiteable.

Wouldn't anyone have trouble falling to sleep with someone staring at bedside and waiting with baited breath for them to doze off? It's kind of a given that MJ was a sick individual who needed help, but help can't be forced on people. I don't understand why the doctor would give into his demands for drugs, other than the threat of losing his position as MJ's personal doctor. I guess his greed has lost him that, anyway, and he and all others involved have this on their conscience for the rest of their lives.

How come when celebrities are non-responsive, the people that find them all call security?!?!?!? What ever happened to dialing 911 immediately? Trying to protect them from prying eyes isn't helpful when they're DEAD.

I beleive these doctors who choose to cross the bounderies of their profession, should be held accountable for their actions. They have may huge money from these people like Michael, Heath, Anna Nicole, they broke the law, someone has died and shouldn't they be held accountable?.

Versed, Ativan, Valium, Zanaflex, Klonopin, and Propofol all found in MJ's house? He was a florid addict. The doctor is criminally negligent. I am an internist and I would never mix benzodiazepines , under any circumstances. Unfortunately there are many unethical doctors who would prescribe whatever is asked for the right price.

As someone with lots of experience with propofol, I can't believe that 25 milligrams was enough to kill someone with as much tolerance as Jackson. It certainly wouldn't come back as a "lethal level".

Either this doc is lying about how much he gave or he made a giant mistake in his dosage calculation.

Michael Jackson and his family are to blame for his addiction and the doctors for feeding this addiction. Now he sleeps forever. How unfortunate. Such a great talent. Seems like he had a sad, lonely, life and only his children brought joy to his life. I hope they realize as they grow older how much he loved them.

It is tragic that MJ has died.
The world lost a great entertainer.
MJ had a sleep disorder and because he had money, he used that to get what he wanted. Unfortunately he found Dr.Murray who was in financial difficulty and used him as his pawn in the game.
Because Mr. Jackson did not look for help with his sleep disorder or refused help, he is now dead.
I don't blame Dr.Murray for what happened as MJ knew the consequences and was playing a game of Russian Roulette and lost.
Even MJ's family knew MJ had a problem..

I can't believe people blame Jackson for demanding the drugs. It is clearly the Doctor's fault. He was negligent and must pay the price. To administer a drug, that requires constant supervision under specialized circumstances, to a patient at home and then leave him unattended, is pure negligence. This doctor has taken his MD qualification and sold it to the highest bidder....now he has to pay the price. Surely there are numerous specialists who could have helped Jackson get through the insomnia without resorting to anesthetics....just a crazy situation. I am appalled at the lack of ethics that this doctor has portrayed.

I think the Doctor that gave Michael Jackson the powerful medicine Propofol she be put in prison for the rest of their awful life. cause he Murdered Michael Jackson. so there for the doctor responsible for Michael Jackson"s Death should be Killed in prison for what he done and for what he committed. its only fare. Michael Jackson Did not deserve to die. he had his whole life ahead of him. he had 3 kids that he had to finish raising. but now he can"t do so. cause he was Murdered. and the doctor that was responsible for his death should also be put to death. and should be put on death row. for what he committed. cause Michael"s 3 kids deserve Justice. for what was done to their Dad.

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