November 28, 2021

Michael Jackson’s doctor gets four years in jail

The personal physician to deceased pop star Michael Jackson has been sentenced to four years imprisonment for involuntary manslaughter. Jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of inappropriate medication for an inability to sleep.

 

The personal physician to deceased pop star Michael Jackson has been sentenced to four years imprisonment for involuntary manslaughter. Jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of inappropriate medication for an inability to sleep.

Judge Michael Pastor strongly rebuked Dr Conrad Murray – who was paid US$150,000 a month — for violating the Hippocratic Oath and for succumbing to “money-for-medicine madness”. Doctors testifying for the prosecution described Murray as reckless and said that he should have resisted Jackson’s pleas for the anaesthetic drug propofol.

Will the downfall of this celebrity physician discourage colleagues from taking on similar roles? Probably not, says Dr Steven Miles of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “These doctors are ego-crazed and money dependent.”

Pace University law professor Linda Fentiman told AP that the Murray’s fate may give doctors some leverage with high-pressure patients. “I’m not sure celebrities can be deterred from trying to get what they want, but a doctor might be able to resist their pleas by saying, ‘I don’t want to end up like Conrad Murray,’” she said.

The case has generated heated comments about doctors who refuse to say No to their patients. A Kansas City Star columnist wrote: “Even in our weakest moments, doctors should be strong enough to do the right thing. Whether it’s a plastic surgeon or your everyday doctor, we are their patients, not customers.” The prosecution condemned Murray for acting like an employee rather than a professional, corrupting the “hallowed” doctor-patient relationship. All this forms an odd contrast to a spate of negative stories about doctors who refuse to prescribe contraceptives or do abortions. Perhaps it will spark a debate about when doctors can draw the line. ~ Washington Post, Nov 30

Michael Cook
conscientious objection
negligence