We’ve reached the finale of the Justice series and with it comes the events surrounding the premature death of Michael Jackson.
In March 2009, Michael Jackson held a press conference at the O2 arena in London where he announced a series of concerts called “This Is It” believed to be his final curtain call, and they indeed proved to be just that. This would be his first tour since the HIStory Tour in 1997 which grossed over $165 million (excluding free concerts). I couldn’t believe it, finally a chance to see the King of Pop live, as I was only 8 during the last tour. After seeing so many clips of his concerts including the Dublin concert, I couldn’t wait. There were set to be 10 concerts in London followed by concerts in Paris and NYC amongst others earning Jackson £50 million alone. However, 50 dates were now added with over one million tickets sold out in under two hours. Michael didn’t sign up for 50. I don’t know anyone who can do 50 concerts never mind someone who was 50 years of age themselves.
I’m sure everyone has seen the This Is It documentary. Michael looked feeble and underweight. He was always one of the fittest performers, however 50 dates seemed beyond him in this state. Could he perform what looked to be an amazing new show? Introducing 3-D and hologram concepts he brought his show into the 21st century and to a new fan base. Would I finally get to see him perform live?
On June 25th 2009, I was awoken with a phone call from a friend who asked had I heard the news. I just thought it was another hoax. I turned on Sky News and I couldn’t believe it. “Michael Jackson suffers cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home” said the yellow bar across the screen. After a while, his brother Jermaine confirmed that Michael had died. This didn’t seem real. How did this happen? Who was to blame?
The autopsy report came in and stated that the cause of death was “acute propofol intoxication” in combination with two sedatives. Suddenly fingers were pointed at Dr. Conrad Murray, his personal physician, who had worked for him less than two months. He was to stand trial for his role in the death of Michael Jackson.
The court found that Murray gave Jackson the surgical anesthetic propofol to help him sleep nearly every night for the last two months of his life to treat his insomnia. Murray ordered an “extraordinary” four gallons of propofol from a pharmacy, and then gave nightly doses of the drug to Jackson for the two months without proper safety equipment. After five separate doses of sedatives given from 1:30 to 7:30 a.m. failed to do the job, Murray said he administered 25 mg of propofol. This seems low compared to the 50 mg usually administered. The doctor also had never even heard of it being used for insomnia, it is a very powerful surgical sedation agent. Which leads us to believe whether or not Murray was being entirely truthful.
The court heard that:
- Doctors stated that after applying the propofol you should spend 15-20 minutes with the patient. However, it was found that Murray spent substantial time talking to a cocktail waitress on the telephone when he ought to have been looking after his patient who was not breathing.
- At the time he treated Jackson he had neither the proper equipment nor an anesthetist trained and experienced in administering propofol or resuscitating patients.
- He administered propofol to Jackson outside of a proper clinical/hospital setting.
- Murray then failed to contact emergency services for more than 20 minutes.
- He failed to administer CPR or chest compression’s effectively as he applied it on the bed rather than on a hard surface
- He hid medication from paramedics on the day Jackson died.
- As Murray panicked he even asked bodyguards if they knew first aid.
Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to a maximum penalty of four years of incarceration. His license to practice medicine is now suspended. Michael is gone but many believe he received justice for Murray’s negligence. So that concludes the Justice series whereby I have discussed allegations against him, his appearance and the media’s scrutiny of his character. As the title suggests, I hope I have shed some light on issues people were unaware of and provided some justice for a great musician, song writer, performer, father and humanitarian.