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Expert set to testify on at-home propofol for Michael Jackson

October 12, 2011 |  6:45 am

Conrad Murray in court Oct 11 2011
An anesthesiologist is expected to take the stand Wednesday in the trial of Michael Jackson’s personal physician to testify about Dr. Conrad Murray’s use of the surgical anesthetic propofol to treat his pop star patient.

Dr. Steven Shafer, a professor of anesthesiology at Columbia University and editor in chief of the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, is one of a series of medical experts expected to testify about Murray’s administering of the powerful drug in a home setting.

Propofol, which is known to carry a risk of respiratory or cardiac depression, is typically used for surgeries in hospital operating rooms.

Full coverage: The Conrad Murray trial

Shafer was retained by prosecutors in Murray’s involuntary manslaughter case and prepared several reports giving his expert opinion.

One of Shafer’s reports, which offered the opinion that propofol would not have any effect if taken orally, led defense attorneys to ask for a delay in the trial earlier this year.

Shafer said that if ingested orally, the liver would have metabolized 99% of the drug before it entered the bloodstream. The defense has theorized that Jackson either drank or injected himself with propofol and caused his own death.

Jackson died June 25, 2009, from acute intoxication of propofol.

A coroner’s medical examiner testified Tuesday that he ruled the pop star’s death a homicide because of the inadequate condition in which Murray gave the drug, and because he did not believe Jackson could have given himself the lethal dose.

If convicted, Murray faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison.


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-- Victoria Kim at Los Angeles County Superior Court

Photo: Dr. Conrad Murray in court Tuesday. Credit: Robyn Beck / Pool