Michael Jackson: Was everything done to save him?
There's been a mountain of speculation about what drugs Michael Jackson was on at the time of death. But I have looked unsuccessfully in all the coverage of his death for a reference to a defibrillator. Yesterday, I saw Edward Chernoff, the lawyer for Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, being interviewed on Dateline NBC. (He's the doctor Jackson hired to accompany him on his planned comeback tour and who'd been living at his L.A. home for 11 days.) Chernoff insisted Murray didn't give Jackson injections of Demerol or OxyContin tablets. Then, he described the circumstances surrounding the doctor finding Jackson not breathing. He said it was Murray's habit to spend time with Jackson in his room when the king of pop was in bed, and had done so last Thursday. He left the room but returned (I got the impression on NBC he was away only briefly, but I could be wrong and on NBC's Today show today, Chernoff said Murray "happened" to drop by Jackson's room). Murray apparently found Jackson not breathing and checked to find he was still warm and with a faint pulse. He immediately began CPR, with one hand behind Jackson for support and the other pumping his chest. He then put Jackson on the floor to continue the procedure until help arrived.
It surprised me he didn't first use a defibrillator, the little machine that can restore a heartbeat or the rhythm of the heart. I used to be completely oblivious to the defibrillators one sees on the walls of airports and other places — that is, until I finally got around to taking a war correspondents' course (insisted on by the Toronto Star) a couple of years ago. Among other things taught that week in my course in Virginia, the instructors emphasized the importance of defibrillators. Obviously, they didn't expect us to carry one in our backpacks in a war zone, but they wanted us to be aware of their value so we could help somebody, should the need ever arise and one be available. Increasingly, I see them in public places. I would have thought Jackson's doctor would have had a defibrillator (which, as this link shows, works by momentarily stopping the heart and, in successful cases, restoring a proper rhythm) and used it, before beginning CPR. After all, the guy is a cardiologist. In any case, I'm not a doctor, but I'm curious about what medical personnel think.
It also struck me as odd that Murray apparently reported Jackson was still warm. If he'd only left the room for the brief time suggested by the lawyer (as I heard it) on Dateline NBC, Jackson would obviously be still warm. I'm not suggesting anything nefarious here, just waiting for authorities to release more details on Jackson's death.
Also, this appears to be a clear case where an inquest is required. Only then would issues, such as whether the doctor took all the proper medical steps in his efforts to save his patient's life, be resolved. There's been no indication an inquest will be held. Without it, we'll be left with speculation, nothing more.
Here's a useful link to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.