Jackson sedative mix a 'recipe for disaster,' expert says
Michael Jackson appeared to have suffered insomnia caused by anxiety to perform and possibly a drug problem his doctor should have evaluated before giving him a powerful surgical anesthetic for sleep, an expert in sleep medicine testified Thursday.
Dr. Nader Kamangar said there was no indication Dr. Conrad Murray, now on trial for involuntary manslaughter for Jackson’s death, had adequately assessed his patient’s problem before turning to the drug that ultimately killed him.
Murray’s decision to give Jackson the anesthetic propofol in addition to two other sedatives without proper monitoring was “a recipe for disaster,” said Kamangar, a UCLA associate professor who reviewed the case for the California Medical Board as an expert reviewer.
“This was the perfect storm I described that culminated in his demise,” he told jurors.
In cross-examination, an attorney for Murray questioned whether some of the individual factors Kamangar said were “extreme deviations” from standard medical care directly caused Jackson’s death.
“The fact that he didn’t write down his vital signs ... that didn’t kill Michael Jackson did it?” attorney Michael Flanagan asked. “The failure to chart was not a cause of death was it?”
“It’s one of many factors,” Kamangar replied.
Flanagan also asked Kamangar about his review of another doctor who treated Jackson and regularly provided him with large amounts of a narcotic: Dr. Arnold Klein.
Flanagan asked if the expert was aware Klein had given Jackson 6,500 milligrams of the narcotic Demerol in the three months leading up to Jackson’s death, suggesting Murray had no way of knowing another doctor was giving Jackson other drugs.
Kamangar said he reviewed Klein’s records but could not determine from the documents whether Jackson had “a Demerol problem.”
But the drug could have been a factor in Jackson’s insomnia, Kamangar said.
-- Victoria Kim at Los Angeles County Superior Court
Photo: Dr. Nader Kamangar testifies in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. Credit: Robyn Beck / Pool