In 2012 Dr. Conrad Murray was sentenced to four years for involuntary manslaughter. He had been administering the surgical anesthetic propofol to Michael Jackson to help him sleep, which is a bit like your family doctor giving you a bottle of 90 Vicodin for a stubbed toe. Michael Jackson, age 50, died as a result.
Like most nonviolent offenders in California, Dr. Murray served half his time, and he is now out...on the interview circuit.
A lot of fans familiar with the Jackson clan are used to scumbag behavior of the highest order. I'd like to to explain, from a medical perspective, why Dr. Murray deserves a special level of hell for his exploitation of Michael Jackson.
In this Daily Mail interview, Murray crosses pretty much every boundary normally maintained in the patient-physician relationship. In trying to showcase his innocence, he proves he's even worse than we thought. Let's break it down, shall we?
1) 'We were family. We loved each other as brothers.'
Good doctors don't say they love patients. Clinicians are human, and we care for patients, sometimes a lot. However, a doctor holds a unique power over a patient. Saying "I love you" entangles the patient in a "family" relationship with a seriously fucked up power disparity. Michael Jackson, who was publicly and tragically searching for a loving family pretty much his entire life, did not need a doctor to say "I love you." He needed a doctor to treat his physical and mental illnesses.
2) 'You want to know how close we were? I held his penis every night to fit a catheter because he was incontinent at night.'
Good doctors do not brag about doing routine procedures, particularly when the procedure is an embarrassing one, like putting in a catheter. But this isn't just sad because Murray is bragging about a procedure you could probably do yourself for an ailing friend or family member: it's evil because this is a massive, heinous breach of medical confidentiality. Yes, this would be straight up illegal if this information hadn't been brought to light already in Dr. Murray's trial for killing Jackson. This is the kind of information that Dr. Murray swore as a physician that he would take to his grave for Michael Jackson. Instead, Michael Jackson is in his grave, and this information is in the Daily Mail.
3) 'I tried to protect him but instead I was brought down with him.'
No, Dr. Murray: the full weight of your bad judgment was brought down on him, and he died as a result. A good doctor admits a mistake, especially when the mistake was costly or fatal. If you don't admit your mistakes, you're going to make them again and again. I wouldn't put this guy in charge of the medical care of a stray dog.
4) 'I am a trained cardiac specialist, this is what I do.'
This is an outright lie. Murray was trained in cardiology. In his enormously lucrative private practice as an in-home physician to the stars, he was treating all kinds of illness well outside of his specialty however he saw fit. He identified that his patient was a drug addict with incredible access to all kinds of medications from many different doctors, and instead of seeking the correct specialized care for his patient's serious medical condition, he gave him more addictive drugs. He was out of his depth and he knew it, and he didn't stop.
5) 'It was the most intimate thing but he trusted me. I was a doctor, so that sort of thing didn't bother me.'
In this final coup de creep Murray is talking about a medical procedure as if it was personally intimate for him. When you feel personally intimate with a patient, it is time to refer them to another clinician, or at least bring your clinical team together to talk about your inappropriate feelings and how to proceed. Murray, of course, was operating on his own — he didn't think he needed a care team, in spite of Jackson's state of near-neglect and myriad health problems. He intentionally worked in a setting where there was no chance his terrible judgements would be challenged by another qualified healthcare worker.
Too bad for the State of California. They spent so much time building a case to convict this charlatan, and he pretty much does the job for them in an interview not two full years later.
Full Article: Daily Mail.
Seize is a clinical researcher. She isn't a doctor, but she does spend an awful lot of time with doctors, other allied professionals, and patients.