Belfast Telegraph

Witness: Doc 'caused Jacko death'

A medical expert has testified that a physician's repeated and flagrant violations of the standard of care involving a powerful anaesthetic led to the death of Michael Jackson.

Dr Steven Shafer told jurors the lack of proper medical equipment and the absence of notes and medical records by Dr Conrad Murray were factors in the death of the music legend.

Murray was acting more like Jackson's employee than a physician who should have rejected the singer's requests for the anaesthetic propofol as a sleep aid, Shafer said.

"Saying yes is not what doctors do," he testified. "A competent doctor would know you do not do this."

The Columbia University professor and researcher gave jurors a crash course on propofol, the powerful drug used in hospital settings that has been cited as Jackson's cause of death.

A video shown to jurors detailed numerous safety measures that were not employed by Murray when he administered the drug to Jackson as a sleep aid at the singer's home, according to testimony.

"The worst disasters occur in sedation and they occur when people cut corners," Shafer said.

He said the fact that Murray was on his cell phone in the hours before Jackson's death was a set-up for disaster. "A patient who is about to die does not look all that different from a patient who is OK," Shafer said, adding that doctors cannot multitask and properly monitor a patient who is sedated.

He told the court the lack of record-keeping was an unconscionable violation of Jackson's rights, especially if something went wrong. "He has a right to know what was done to him," Shafer said. "With no medical record, the family has been denied that right."

Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter over Jackson's 2009 death.

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