Cocktail of unethical behavior and incompetence killed MJ

OPINION - It was Dr. Conrad Murray's cocktail of unethical behavior and extreme incompetence which ultimately killed the most well known entertainer in history...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

The allegations against Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s doctor, are disturbing. While the variety of drugs found in Jackson’s body was shocking, it was Dr. Murray’s mixture of unethical behavior and extreme incompetence which served as the cocktail that ultimately killed the most well known entertainer in history.

Dr. Elaina George, a prominent otolaryngologist out of Atlanta, explains that Dr. Murray’s actions were inexcusable, even beyond the ethical implications.

“It was beyond negligent to give him a mixture of three different kinds of sedatives, a muscle relaxant and an antidepressant, in addition to Propofol, a general anesthetic that is only used in an operating room setting because it can stop someone’s breathing,” George said. “Each of these drugs by themselves can be lethal, but together it is a recipe that will almost definitely kill someone.”

I was surprised to hear Dr. George make that statement, since I initially thought Jackson’s death was more like that of Heath Ledger’s, one of a celebrity who lived on the edge and had pushed himself over by accident. But Propofol, the drug found at lethal levels in Jackson’s system, has been used for both suicide and murder by medical residents and random criminals alike. In light of this evidence, one could argue that Dr. Murray was not only a criminal, but perhaps an unintelligent one as well.

If one were to grasp at any sort of empathy toward Dr. Murray, it would be due to the fact that most of us would feel pressured by a larger-than-life figure like Michael Jackson offering $150,000 per month to bend a few rules here and there. Cops do it, attorneys do it, and politicians do it. Yes, it’s wrong, but most of us break the law at least once a week, whether it’s a speeding in our car while on our cell phone, jaywalking or borrowing our neighbor’s Internet connection. Many Americans do much more and are simply afraid to admit it.

But Dr. Murray’s role as a physician comes with a certain responsibility that is thrust upon him as a member of the medical profession. Doctors are required to understand their power to give life and take it away. It is almost overwhelming to consider that doctors have access to drugs that most of us can’t obtain, and that they have intricate and exclusive knowledge on how to use those powerful weapons.

While some might also hold Michael Jackson accountable for playing a substantial role in his own death (which he did), the truth is that society expected Dr. Murray to say “no” to individuals requesting unhealthy and unnecessary drugs.

While Michael Jackson may have requested or even demanded more drugs, he didn’t have the expertise to know exactly what style and combination of drugs would give him the desired result. So, like the rest of us, Jackson was forced to rely on the expertise of his doctor to give him a treatment that would be both safe and effective.

Dr. Murray has certainly earned his role as the villain in this scenario. But the sad truth is that Michael Jackson also made the decision to assist in his own homicide. If Murray had not given him the drugs, someone else would have done so.

By submitting himself to a life of drug addiction, gluttonous amounts of power and ignorance to the advice of others, Michael Jackson pushed his way to an early grave. There is enough blame to go around the turntable 10,000 times, which is what makes this story so tragic.

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