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Conrad Murray’s heart patient says he felt abandoned by doctor

September 30, 2011 | 10:30 am

A former patient of Michael Jackson's doctor testified that he felt desperate, frustrated and abandoned when Dr. Conrad Murray failed to keep crucial appointments about his heart around the time of the pop star's death in June 2009.

Robert Russell, who had received two operations from Murray between March and June of that year following a heart attack, said he felt he was "at the end of the rope" after the physician canceled two important appointments about treatments for his heart.

"I was dismayed, flabbergasted; I felt left out, I felt abandoned," Russell testified Friday.

Watch live: Full coverage of Conrad Murray's trial

Russell, who was a commission salesman when he was treated by Murray in Las Vegas, said he had initially been happy with Murray's care and felt he owed the doctor his life. He said that when Murray told him he would be leaving the country to care for one patient, and later mentioned that the patient was Michael Jackson, he was happy for the doctor. Later, he said, that turned into frustration and a feeling of abandonment, he said.

"I kind of felt second fiddle," he said. "But this was about my life."

Under cross-examination by Murray's attorney, Russell said the doctor gave him personal attention and took the time to talk to him and counsel him about exercise and eating, and that the procedures he received from the cardiologist had held up well.

"Your prognosis is pretty good considering you had a heart attack?" Attorney Ed Chernoff asked.

"Yes, sir," he responded.


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-- Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan in Los Angeles County Superior Court

Photo: Robert Russell, a former patient of Conrad Murray, took the stand in Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / Pool