LOS ANGELES (AP) — The doctor charged in Michael Jackson’s death had requested lifesaving gear and a nurse from the concert promoter organizing the singer’s London shows, documents obtained by The Associated Press show.
But neither request was apparently in place when Jackson died last June 25 after Dr. Conrad Murray administered a mixture of sedatives, including the anesthetic propofol, in an attempt to get the chronic insomniac to sleep.
Propofol is extremely powerful and is usually administered only in medical settings with emergency equipment on hand. Patients are normally constantly monitored.
Murray was alone when he gave the drugs to Jackson. After he realized the sedated star was not breathing, he performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation but was unable to revive him. He performed CPR on the singer while he was in bed instead of moving him to the floor, an action that was criticized after Jackson’s death.
The doctor has pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge in Jackson’s death. His proposed contract with promoter AEG Live, which included a monthly fee of $150,000 (€122,000), was not finalized before the singer’s death. Murray never received payment for his services.
The request for a heart resuscitation machine and another person with medical training are revealed in e-mails and a contract drafted by AEG Live and sent to Murray.
The documents are included in a complaint filed by Jackson’s father, Joe, to the California Medical Board against AEG Live, accusing the promoter of Jackson’s comeback “This Is It” tour of engaging in the “unlawful practice of corporate medicine.” It also accuses the company of forcing Murray to provide Jackson with dangerous medical services.
Michael Roth, an AEG spokesman, said the company had not seen the complaint and could not comment on it or the contract.
Murray’s lawyer Ed Chernoff declined to comment.
“AEG hired, directed, controlled and demanded Dr. Conrad Murray, a medical doctor, to medicate Michael Jackson, provide Jackson with dangerous medical services, and to give Michael Jackson controlled substances and other drugs without providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation equipment or nursing assistance as it had promised in writing it would provide,” the complaint states.
Murray’s request for the CPR equipment was first made to a concert tour business manager, an e-mail message shows. The complaint states Murray also requested a nurse, and the doctor’s proposed contract called for AEG to hire a “qualified assistant medical person.”
The request was later mentioned in Murray’s proposed contract. The language stated AEG “shall provide Dr. Murray for his use during the term with medical equipment requested by Dr. Murray to assist him in performing the services as approved by (AEG).”
The equipment is described as a “portable cardio pulmonary resuscitation unit (‘CPR Machine’), saline, catheters, needles, a gurney and other mutually approved medical equipment necessary for the Services.”
The complaint states Murray signed the document a day before Michael Jackson’s death.
Murray had known Jackson and treated him and his children occasionally in recent years, the doctor’s attorney has said and the complaint states.
The AEG agreement would have covered Murray’s work while Jackson was preparing for the London shows and throughout the concerts last summer.
An e-mail sent to Murray during the negotiations explained a delay in the contract’s drafting because it was a “rare event” for a physician to be hired to care for a singer on tour.
E-mails also show the contract was still being reworked two days before Jackson’s death, which happened a week before he was to travel to London for the “This Is It” shows.
A spokeswoman for the California Medical Board said complaints filed to the agency are confidential unless it takes any action. The board receives 8,000 complaints a year, according to its website.
Joe Jackson’s attorney, Brian Oxman, confirmed he filed a complaint with the California Medical Board but declined to discuss it.
In his complaint, Joe Jackson — who has repeatedly criticized AEG Live since shortly after his son’s death — accuses the promoter of agreeing to pay Murray vastly more than he was making so that it could exert control over his medical decisions.
Joe Jackson’s filing cites a 2008 income declaration by Murray in a child support proceeding in which the cardiologist stated he earned only $3,300 per month.
The Jackson family patriarch is also contemplating a wrongful death lawsuit against Murray.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.