Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 February 2015

Propofol expert at Jackson trial

Michael Jackson died at home on June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson died at home on June 25, 2009

The trial of the doctor charged over Michael Jackson's death has resumed after days of delay, with jurors hearing from a leading expert on the powerful anaesthetic propofol that authorities say killed the star.

Dr Steven Shafer's early testimony focused on his lengthy credentials, studies he has helped create, and his work crafting guidelines and warnings that are included with every bottle of propofol.

Prosecutors claim Dr Conrad Murray ignored those warnings by giving Jackson the anaesthetic in the bedroom of his rented mansion. He denies the claims

Dr Shafer is expected to introduce a video demonstration that shows the proper procedures for administering propofol in a hospital setting, where the drug is supposed to be used.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ruled that portions of the video, which depicts the set-up of an operating room and what medical personnel are supposed to do if a patient's heart stops, could be shown to jurors.

Before the video was played, Dr Shafer told jurors he is not charging for his work on the Jackson case, in part because he wants to restore public confidence in the medication and doctors.

"I am asked every day in the operating room, 'Are you going to give me the drug that killed Michael Jackson?'" Dr Shafer said. "This is a fear that patients do not need to have."

Dr Shafer, who is a researcher and a practising anaesthesiologist, is the prosecution's final witness in its case against Murray, who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Dr Safer used a bottle of propofol he brought to court to demonstrate how a syringe can be used to obtain the drug from its glass vial.

Testimony in the trial was cancelled to give defence lawyers time to research new test results conducted by coroner's officials on the level of the sedative lorazepam in Jackson's body.

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