Michael Jackson Death Trial: ER Doctor Says Murray 'Sounded Desperate' and 'Looked Devastated'

ER doctor: Knowing about propofol dose could not have saved Jackson.

October 3, 2011, 12:08 PM

Oct. 3, 2011 — -- The cardiologist called to UCLA Medical Center's emergency room when Michael Jackson was admitted to the hospital June 25, 2009, testified today that Dr. Conrad Murray, on trial for Jackson's death, "sounded desperate" and "looked devastated" in the hospital.

Dr. Thao Nguyen said Murray said to her and other doctors, "Do not give up easily. Please try to save his life."

Nguyen said she was called to the emergency room when she received a page saying that a VIP patient, Michael Jackson, had been admitted to the hospital.

"By the time I came down, the patient appeared lifeless," Nguyen said. "I couldn't find a pulse. My attending couldn't find a pulse."

But Murray told Nguyen's attending physician that he had detected a pulse so, acting in "good faith," Nguyen said, she and her team continued to attempt to resuscitate Jackson. They made an agreement with Murray that if another attempt and resuscitation efforts with a balloon pump proved futile, she said, they would pronounce him dead. The procedure was unsuccessful and Jackson was pronounced dead.

Nguyen also testified that when she began to ask Murray questions he was not able to tell her the time Jackson stopped breathing, when medication was administered to him that day or the interval of time between the two events.

"He said he did not have any concept of time," Nguyen told the court. "He did not have a watch."

She added that when she "specifically asked" Murray if Jackson had taken any other sedatives or narcotics, "his reply was negative."

Murray asked both Nguyen and her attending doctor "that we not give up easily and try to save Michael Jackson's life," Nguyen said.

"In Dr. Murray's mind, if we called it quits at that time, it would be giving up easily," Nguyen said. "[It's] not a case of too little, too late. It seems like a case of too late."

Earlier in the day, an emergency room doctor who attempted to resuscitate Michael Jackson the night he died said that even if Dr. Conrad Murray had told her Jackson had taken the drug propofol, it would not have changed her treatment.

"Had Dr. Murray told you he had given 25 mg of propofol at 10:30, would it have altered your treatment of Michael Jackson?" asked defense attorney Michael Flanagan at the second week of Murray's trial for involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's overdose death on June 25, 2009.

"No," answered the doctor, Richelle Cooper, who was on duty at UCLA Medical Center's emergency room the night Jackson died.

"Would that have altered the result that happened to Michael Jackson?" Flanagan asked.

"As I said, Mr. Jackson died long before he became my patient," Cooper answered. "Knowing more, it's still unlikely I could have done something different to him."

Murray told Cooper that he was treating the singer for dehydration and that Jackson had no history of health problems, witnesses have testified.

On Friday, Cooper and paramedics who responded to an apparently lifeless Michael Jackson said Murray did not tell them that Jackson was taking the powerful anesthetic propofol to sleep.

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, according to testimony at the trial.

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.

Cooper testified today that in a routine administration of propfol, or any sedative, she would have an additional person in the room as a monitor to keep track of the patient's vital signs.

Cooper did not recall Murray's demeanor on the day of Jackson's death or whether he was particularly "frantic," as Flanagan suggested.

"I recall speaking to him, and I assumed when I was speaking to him [that] I was getting honest and truthful answers," Cooper said.

Cooper declared Jackson dead after an hour and 13 minutes of attempted resuscitation "failed and seemed to be futile."

The fifth day of the trial marked the first time that Jackson's parents, Katherine and Joe Jackson, and his sister LaToya were not in court. Katherine Jackson reportedly left Los Angeles over the weekend with Michael Jackson's three children to attend the Canadian premiere of Cirque du Soleil's new show, "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour."

Michael Jackson siblings Janet, Randy, Rebe and Jermaine, and Jermaine's wife, were in the courtroom today.

Also expected to testifying were three of Murray's girlfriends, including Sade Anding, who spoke to Murray on the phone right before Jackson's death.

A coroner ruled that Jackson died of "acute propofol intoxication" in combination with sedatives.

Prosecutors argue that Murray is criminally responsible for Jackson's death for administering propfol, a surgical anesthetic, to help Jackson sleep. They are accusing Murray of medical negligence and reckless use of the drug.

The defense argues that Jackson caused his own death by taking eight pills of lorazepam and orally taking propofol while Murray was out of the room.

Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter and faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

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