Dr. Murray Guilty

Doesn't everyone take their doctor on vacation?

Maybe if Dr. Nick had been tried in court instead of in front of the Tennessee State Medical Licensing board, he would have gone to jail for killing Elvis – and Michael Jackson, Corey Haim and other doctor shopping celebrities might be alive.

But doctors are rarely held to the standard that mere morals are held to – so Dr. Conrad Murray, who was just the last in a string of pusher doctors, is found guilty at trial rather than be fined by the medical board for poor ethical standards.

Will Murray be the latest victim of celebrity excess and the greed that surrounds celebrities, or will he herald a change for doctors to really do no harm to their celebrity patients?

What’s most interesting to me is how much easier it seems to be for doctors to be blamed when their patient is a dead celebrity – because having worked some years ago on a medical malpractise complaint against a doctor, it is astonishingly difficult to establish guilt.

In the Vancouver case, a doctor who specialized in AIDs patients, was using liquid nitrogen to burn off anal warts – a common opportunistic infection. But think about that for a moment: Liquid nitrogen, anal spincter.

If you aren’t squirming in your chair, you probably haven’t had to have liquid nitrogen applied to your skin. Having had liquid nitrogen used to remove planter warts from my toe and some moles on my arm, I can assure you that liquid nitrogen is nothing that you want on anything as sensitive as your anus.

Of the three doctors who reviewed the treatment, one stated that the application of liquid nitrogen to the anal area was inappropriately agressive, with the other two indicating that it was unconventional but not unthinkable as a treatment option.

That four of the five patients that we represented didn’t even have anal warts, didn’t factor into the assessement of the appropriateness of the treatment.

So, here, we had a case of a doctor, using unconventional aggressive treatment for an ailment that the patients don’t have and isn’t warrented for what they do have. But these are just five gay guys and not dead celebrities, so the case falls apart in the face of doctors standing together – and it doesn’t matter what reality or evidence demonstrates.

So while Dr. Conrad Murray didn’t get Jackson addicted to drugs, he stepped into a situation that Jackson’s death was inevitable and gambled that he could do what he was paid to do and get out before things went too wrong. He gambled and lost.

Is it fair he go to jail?

In that jail is intended as a deterrent to crime and insofar as Murray’s actions were criminally negligent in that he was not trained to administer the drug at issue, which was further being done in an improper setting, yes, Dr. Murray, as a medical doctor, knew or ought to have known, how dangerous the situation was.

Despite that Jackson himself should have been in jail and not unconsciously preparing for a concert tour (can you call it a tour when it’s just the one location?),  no matter Jackson’s failings and shortcomings, Dr. Conrad Murray contributed to his death.

But it’s the actions after that are the most telling – Murray did not immediately call for help and he hid information from medical responders. There was never doubt about Murray’s contributions – but there is some doubt as to whether he should shoulder the full burden.

But, as with Elvis, the biggest share of responsibility lies with Jackson himself. Celebrity seems to be it’s own reward as well as punishment.

__________________

Disclaimers:

1. Doctors and police should never investigate themselves for misconduct, because there’s an inherent conflict of interest.

2. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Michael Jackson fan. I believed him to be guilty of The Charges years in advance of any claims being made. That taints my observations of the current events, and I just wanted to admit my bias.

3 thoughts on “Dr. Murray Guilty

  1. I’m so curious to ask you more about that – ” I believed him to be guilty of The Charges years in advance of any claims being made. ” but I feel that if you ever want to write about that it will be a whole article and not an answer to a comment. So never mind if there can’t be an answer to that.

    I’m originally from the culture quite far away from Jackson, although he had some mad fans there too.

    • Hmmmm. I’m not sure that I would do a blog on Jackson again, so, what made me think there was improper conduct going on as early as the late 1980’s:

      So, remembering that these observations were prior to the marriage to Lisa Presley – which was a whole other thing:

      1. Jackson had no hints or rumors about dating relationships – just high profile public publicity dates with women celebrities
      2. on the publicity dates, there was also a male child celebrity along for the date, suggesting the woman was the beard
      because what guy brings a child – someone else’s child – on a date?
      3. Jackson was often surrounded by boys, aged 12 to 14 – and it’s the consistency of that age/gender, it’s never all kinds of children of varying ages and both genders

      There was an Eddie Murphy joke about how white people like Michael Jackson, as evidenced by no protest or outcry when he took Brooke Shields to the Grammies and how people would have freaked if Murphy took her because everyone would know that Brooke would get laid that night.

      There was a certain sexlessness to Jackson, almost a active will to beleive him to be Peter Pan – all childhood and innocence – as if we had to beleive him to be Peter Pan, otherwise, we’d have to really look at what does it mean when a man befriends children – rather than being friendly with children of his friends.

      If Jackson wasn’t famous, his befriending children, taking them away for weekend trips, sleepovers – what parent would let their kid go away with an unrelated man that the parents weren’t friends with?

      So, when the first claimant was made public, it seemed like everyone snapped out of it and they started looking at the situation and getting uncomfortable; but not really wanted any of it to be true. Jackson, rather than undergo the trial, paid the claimant off and the case fell apart without a witness/victim.

      After that, he continues to flaunt children, but was more careful in that he didn’t have a second credible accuser – but the damage was done, and his career never regained momentum until after his death. That whole demanding being called the King of Pop didn’t help, but it rallied his devoted core base.

      I know the whole story that Jackson’s father was abusive and how he wanted to recreate the childhood he never had – but living in an amusement park called Neverland? Serious Peter Pan issues.

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