LOS ANGELES, Sept. 30, 2011 -- Paramedics and an emergency room doctor who responded to a lifeless Michael Jackson said today the singer's doctor, Conrad Murray, did not tell them that Jackson was taking the powerful anesthetic propofol to sleep and instead said he was treating Jackson for dehydration.
Conrad Murray, on trial for involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of Jackson, told emergency room physician Richelle Cooper that he was treating the singer for dehydration and that Jackson had no history of health problems.
"I asked what happened," said Cooper of the moment when a clinically dead Jackson was wheeled into the UCLA emergency room on June 25, 2009.
"I was told that Mr. Jackson had been working very long hours and Dr. Murray thought he had been dehydrated and that he had given the patient an IV and administered 2 mg of lorazepam and later gave him [another] 2 mg and observed the patient to [cardiac] arrest," she said.
Murray's defense team now admits that Murray gave Jackson 25 mg of the creamy anesthetic propofol but argues that Jackson himself took an additional dose of propofol and a sedative without his doctor's knowledge, leading to his death. Propofol is typically administered in a hospital setting.
Murray told Cooper that the only medications that Jackson took regularly were valium, an anti-anxiety medication, and Flomax, which is used to treat an enlarged prostate or someone suffering from a kidney stone.
By the time Jackson reached the emergency room, he had been in cardiac arrest for at least 40 minutes and Cooper could find no pulse, all signs of a "dying heart," she said. Paramedics testified that Jackson appeared dead when they reached the home, indicating he could have been in cardiac arrest for a period of time before the 911 call was made by a Jackson bodyguard.
Cooper had given paramedic Richard Senneff the OK to declare Jackson dead back at the singer's rented mansion, but Murray insisted that paramedics administer another medicine to Jackson to try and bring him back to life. That led to Jackson's trip to UCLA Medical Center where he would ultimately be declared dead.
Senneff, a Los Angeles firefighter and paramedic, said that he and his team received the 911 call at 12:22 p.m. and arrived at the rented mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Bel Air, Calif., at 12:26 p.m.
He said that he and his team never found any sign of life in the King of Pop.
"When I first moved the patient, his skin was very cool to the touch," Senneff said. "When I took a first glance at him, his eyes were open, they were dry and his pupils were dilated. When I hooked up the EKG machine, it was flatline consistently."
Michael Jackson Paramedic Says Conrad Murray Was Not Honest
The paramedic said that Murray and a bodyguard were in the process of moving Jackson from his bed to the floor when he arrived. Jackson, wearing pajamas, appeared so thin that his ribs were visible, Senneff told jurors.
Senneff immediately approached Murray, asking him a barrage of questions about his patient. Jackson appeared so ill that he looked like a patient suffering from a chronic illness, Senneff said.
"I said, 'Is there a DNR [do not resuscitate order], and he just looked at me," Senneff said. "I repeated the question and he said, 'No, no, there's nothing. No.'"
Senneff and his team began hooking Jackson up to an EKG machine, intubating him and giving him rounds of drugs to start his heart. None of it worked.
At one point, Murray told paramedics that he could feel a pulse in Jackson's right groin. Senneff said he and his team could not find a pulse on Jackson and that his cardiac rhythm was a "clean flatline."
Senneff repeatedly asked Murray about Jackson's medical history and what medications he was taking.
"I asked what his underlying health condition was. He [Conrad Murray] did not respond. ... I asked again. ... He did not respond…The third time he said nothing, nothing, he has nothing," Senneff said. "Simply, that did not add up to me."
"I see an underweight patient, I see an IV here and I see medication vials on the nightstand," he said.
Senneff said that it appeared Jackson had been in cardiac arrest longer than the five minutes it took for paramedics to arrive after 911 was called.
Senneff and the UCLA Medical Center were prepared to declare Jackson dead at 12:57 p.m., but Murray insisted the he be taken to the hospital and efforts to revive him continue.
Senneff said that after Jackson had been taken down the stairs on a gurney and placed into an ambulance, he returned to Jackson's bedroom to retrieve his team's items.
Medic Claims Conrad Murray Repeatedly Didn't Tell Him About Propofol
He encountered Murray in the bedroom.
"He was surprised to see me," Senneff said.
"He has a bag in hand and he is picking up items from the floor ... near the nightstand ... on the far side of the bed," Senneff said.
The nightstand is where vials of medications administered by Murray were kept, prosecutors contend.
Another paramedic, Martin Blount, said that he observed Murray throw three open vials of the drug Lidocaine into a black bag. Lidocaine is typically administered to help restart one's heart.
One of Jackson's bodyguards has previously testified that Murray asked him to help discard of vials before paramedics arrived.
Paramedic Senneff said that he observed no heart monitoring machines in the Jackson bedroom when he arrived, something prosecutors argue shows reckless care and abandonment.
An earlier witness testified that the pulse oximeter machine that Murray did have in Jackson's bedroom was useless unless Murray was staring at it the entire time because it had a tiny screen and no audible alarm system.
Murray rode in the ambulance with the paramedics to the UCLA emergency room. Senneff testified that he observed Murray talking on his cell phone on the ambulance ride.
Another paramedic riding in the ambulance testified that he heard Murray say, "It's about Michael and it doesn't look good."
The minute-by-minute account of the efforts to revive Jackson followed a morning of testimony from a former patient of Murray.
Robert Russell told jurors that Murray had performed two surgeries on him after he suffered a heart attack in March 2009.
Of Murray's treatment, he said, "I felt like I was getting the best care in the world, honestly."
The two grew so close that Murray revealed to Russell that he was leaving his medical practices to treat Jackson.
"He expressed that he made the decision that he was going to proceed with caring for that one patient and at that time he revealed that that person was Michael Jackson ...He was going to let his staff know after we departed," Russell said.
"It was kind of a joyous occasion. It was giddy," he said.
Russell said that the exceptional care he'd received began to shift. Murray broke two appointments with him and Russell was considering legal action against the doctor and left a voicemail letting his office know.
"I had expressed my frustration. I stated that I was at the end ... of my rope and I expected answers and I expected a return call from Dr. Murray or the establishment of a meeting," he told jurors.
Russell got a return call from Murray, made less than an hour before paramedics would be called to Jackson's home to try and revive his lifeless body.
In the message, Murray said that his patient's heart is "repaired" and that he was on a sabbatical. Russell found the message odd because it didn't refer to any of Russell's test results and seemed to conflict with previous advice that Murray had given him, telling him that the damage to his heart could never really be repaired.
"I'm looking for scientific facts," Russell said. "I also thought it was strange that he's leaving on a sabbatical. Why would he say that to me? I've been aware of what he was doing before his staff did.
"I was dismayed, flabbergasted, I felt left out. I did feel abandoned," he said.