Dr. Murray

May 232012

Can it be called Justice for Michael Jackson? Read what’s the fair punishment for Michael Jackson’s killer OUGHT TO be!

On November 28 2011, Judge Michael Pastor handed Dr. Murray the harshest sentence allowed by law: 4 years in prison and the loss of his medical license.
In the process of announcing his decision Judge Pastor spoke passionately of Dr. Murray’s failings as a physician and a human being;  calling him “a danger to the community” and a “disgrace to medicine”. (Many have found his words as or even more satisfying than his decision itself.)

In reality, Dr. Murray won’t be serving 4 years in prison. Under the new California’s Realignment Act, the sentence will be automatically reduced to 2 years and he gets credit for the time he’s already spent behind bars. He won’t be going to a prison, either. Dr. Murray is likely to spend the next 2 years (actually about 22 months or even LESS!) in a one-person cell in L.A. County Jail, sheltered from the general jail’s population. (Is it really “justice for Michael Jackson”?)

Michael Jackson’s family summed up the sentence in the following statement:
“Michael Jackson’s death was a huge loss to his children, his family, and his fans worldwide. A jury determined Michael’s untimely passing was caused by Conrad Murray. Dr. Murray in pre-trial statements and in a post-trial documentary expressed no remorse or responsibility for Mr. Jackson’s death. The Estate of Michael Jackson believes that the sentence imposed on Conrad Murray by Judge Pastor was appropriate and called for. The egregious conduct of Dr. Murray when “treating” Michael Jackson was bad enough but when coupled with his outrageous lies in trying to cover up his wrongdoing after Michael was dying and/or had died only served to magnify his criminal actions. Michael Jackson was the one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived and he will be missed by millions.”

Is Dr. Murray’s Sentence Just? Is this the justice for Michael Jackson we’ve been waiting for? It’s the law that put the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter at 4 years, even the judge in this case didn’t have the authority to impose a higher sentence. Many would have felt better were Dr. Murray given a lifetime behind bars, but it wasn’t an option to begin with.

How do I personally feel about the outcome? Is it the much anticipated justice for Michael Jackson? Like many of you I have mixed feelings. The turning point to me isn’t the time Dr. Murray will spend in prison, I understand that law has its limits. My biggest interest is in his medical license. It’s been said that he lost it. Knowing how the law treats doctors, I’m wondering what it means. Did he lose the right to practice medicine in California or everywhere? Did he lose it permanently or for a specific period of time?
You see, no matter how we may feel about Dr. Murray he didn’t literally murder Michael Jackson, he is basically guilty of outrageous malpractice; in the words of Judge Pastor “criminal negligence” and “horrific violation of trust”.
Having him spend a lifetime in prison wouldn’t be the appropriate punishment and certainly no justice for Michael Jackson. Having him lose his medical license FOREVER, with no right to practice medicine ANYWHERE, now that would be JUSTICE!

Doctors in general are well paid. Doctor Murray was paid $150,000 a month (if I’m not mistaken) by Michael Jackson alone. Shouldn’t he learn in the real world, in today’s economy, how to live on let’s say $2,000 a month? Such an experience would have a significant impact on him and dare I say, would be more dramatic than spending time alone catching up on his reading in a jail. Anybody can find a way of comforting himself and killing time while alone; dealing with hardships of reality on a limited budget would remind Dr. Murray not only of what he’s lost but why….

Is Dr. Murray’s Sentence Just? At the moment, I don’t feel that it is. To have a person who violated medical profession’s ethics and medical standards of care PERMANENTLY BANNED from practicing medicine would be a true moral victory and a vindication for Michael Jackson, his children, family and fans around the world. (MJ’s posthumous role in protecting others from an incompetent and dangerous doctor would even further contribute to his legend.)

May 232012

Appropriate Sentence for Dr. Murray: comparing the trial and ethics of Michael Jackson’s doctor to the trial of Dr. Kevorkian on US Celebrity Blog.

The major news of the day is the verdict in Dr. Conrad Murray’s trial. He’s been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. According to sources – the trial didn’t reach its sentencing stage, yet – it is anticipated that he may face up to 4 years of prison – or a probation – and may have his license to practice medicine suspended. Would any of these be an appropriate sentence for Dr. Murray?…

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson

The jury’s decision has been applauded by Michael Jackson’s family, friends and fans all over the world. Without a doubt, the premature death of the King of Pop was due to medical malpractice or – at the very least – the breach of medical ethics on the part of Dr. Murray.

While millions of people are celebrating this legal victory for Michael Jackson, another trial came to my mind: the trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Dr. Kevorkian helped terminally ill patients end their lives: he did it at their explicit and verified request, in essence assisting in their suicides. The patients were terminally ill, prepared to die and have chosen to die at their own terms: at home, surrounded by loved ones, at the time of their own choosing. Dr. Kevorkian was generous enough to assist them in meeting their final objective. For acting as a doctor committed to patients’ well-being and comfort till their last breath; for being HUMANE, compassionate and selfless; for preserving the individuals’ ultimate freedom of choice, Dr. Kevorkian has been sentenced to serve 10-25 years in prison. (He was released on parole after serving 8 years.)

If you compare these two cases, the sentence expected in the trial of Dr. Murray seems painfully inadequate and quite frankly, unjust. After all, to many people – the terminally ill patients whom he’s helped AND their families who are indebted to him – Dr. Kevorkian is – and will always be – a hero: a true, dedicated physician who didn’t hide from his responsibility as a doctor even at the risk of prosecution. (If you are appalled by my tribute to Dr. Kevorkian than you didn’t have the experience of watching a loved one dying “legally” for days and weeks on end….)

Dr. Murray on the other hand, can hardly be considered a physician. Even though his defense found a legal loophole for his “off label” use of Propofol, there is no explanation for his leaving Michael Jackson unmonitored and unattended; for his lack of record-keeping and finally, no excuse for him for not summoning 911 immediately and for not being forthright with emergency medical personnel. As far as I’m concerned he failed miserably as a physician, as Michael Jackson’s “friend” and as a human being.

One would hope that at least in this case, justice will be…. ethical and that the punishment will fit the crime. (It wasn’t – and it didn’t – in the case of Dr. Kevorkian.)  Let’s hope for an appropriate sentence for Dr. Murray!

Just one person’s reflection on the trial of Dr. Murray: something to think about, even if you disagree….