Jurors in Conrad Murray Trial Get Crash Course on Propofol
Jurors in the Conrad Murray trial got a crash course Wednesday on propofol, the drug blamed in the death of Michael Jackson.
Dr. Steven Shafer, the doctor who wrote the package insert that guides doctors in the usage of propofol, showed the jury a graphic video of what he said is the right way to administer the drug. The video included safety measures that Shafer said were not employed by Dr. Conrad Murray when the drug was administered to Jackson as a sleep aid.
"The worst disasters occur in sedation and they occur when people cut corners," Shafer said in his testimony.
Shafer said that standards and safeguards are essential to administering anesthesia and "virtually none of the safeguards were in place" the day of Jackson's death.
In the video, a doctor was shown taking detailed notes on the sedated patient.
"Moment by moment, the anesthesiologist writes down everything that happens, as diligently as you are doing here," Shafer said to the jurors.
Prior testimony has shown that these crucial notes were not made on June 25, 2009, the day of Jackson's death. Murray did not record any details on the treatment or vital signs from Jackson.
"The record is not just some static document," Shafer said. "It's fundamental to the care that is given."
Shafer also noted that verbal consent from the patient is not adequate when dealing with heavy sedation. He said that Jackson should have signed a written informed consent form.
Shafer is a practicing anesthesiologist who teaches at the Columbia University Medical School in New York. He said in court today that he is testifying without a fee, because he wants to reduce fears of the drug which is blamed for killing Jackson and restore public confidence in doctors who use propofol.
"I am asked every day in the operating room, 'Are you going to give me the drug that killed Michael Jackson?" Shafer said. "This is a fear that patients do not need to have."
The video shown in court today also suggested that the only place for propofol to be administered is in a hospital setting with additional medical personnel present.
"You have to respond instantly," Shafer said. "If there is a problem, you call for help before you treat because you're doing to need it."
Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He told police he did not immediately call 9-1-1 because he was giving Jackson CPR.
Defense attorneys argue that the amount of propofol given to Jackson was not enough to cause his sudden death at age 50.
Shafer is the final witness for the prosecution.
Murray's defense team will be calling witnesses beginning Friday. There are 15 witnesses slated to testify, including police detectives, character witnesses and Randy Phillips, the head of AEG Live, the promoter for Jackson's "This Is It" Tour. Dr. Paul White, a colleague of Shafer's, will also be called as a counter to Shafer's testimony.
The defense said it should rest its case by Wednesday.