Thursday, September 29, 2011

Conrad Murray Trial: Day 3

Dr. Conrad Murray, front, Attorneys J. Michael Flanagan behind him and Nareg Gourjian, right. Photo: Reuters

I've been watching a bit of the Conrad Murray Trial. I listened to opening statements, saw a bit of testimony on Tuesday, listened to some talking heads commentary yesterday and I've listened to some of Alberto Alvarez on the stand today.

So far for me, there has been very little difference in the prosecution's case from what I heard at the preliminary hearing back in January. The only startling information came in via the prosecution's opening statement with that tape recording of a clearly out-of-it Michael Jackson. The only additional witness (compared to the prelim) so far has been Paul Gongaware, AEG CEO who testified about how many concert dates there were, when they were added and how quickly they sold out.

Prosecution witnesses who have testified so far:

1. Kenneth Ortega (Co-director/creator THIS IS IT tour)
2. Paul Gongaware (AEG Live Co. CEO)
3. Michael Amir Williams (Personal assistant to Michael Jackson)
4. Faheem Mohammad (Head of Security for Michael Jackson)
5. Alberto Alvarez (Security Staff)

What are your thoughts on the trial so far? Was there any information that was new to you beyond what we learned at the preliminary hearing? For me, it was nice to see Judge Pastor's clerk, Mrs. Benson and his long-time court reporter, Mavis on camera. They are both lovely people.

Conrad Murray Quick Links

KZ's "Dr. Murray's Death Drip: Explained" Series


Anonymous said...

I've watched a lot of the coverage on HLN. I think Mr. Alvarez was very credible as a prosecution witness.

David Walgren and Deborah Brazil are impressive prosecutors. They elicit clear and concise testimony from the witnesses.

David In TN

KZ said...

I haven't been able to watch continuously, but have been catching up in the evenings. My thoughts so far today are about what Alberto Alvarez saw.

What is not precisely known (but what I strongly believe) is whether or not the liter bag with bottle was piggybacked into a y-site. The y-site of the mainline tubing had propofol in it, which is common-- a little med is trapped in the y-site when either a syringe or another IV is attached. There was no propofol in the tubing above the y-site-- which indicates the tubing was free flowing (either onto the floor or into a vein). Everything from the y-sites was washed downstream, presumably toward the patient.Nothing refluxed back up the mainline tubing toward the bag of plain saline. That no puddles of liquid meds were discovered, nor an infiltrated area on his leg, indicates to me that the IV was running very well-- perhaps too well. If MJ aroused only a bit, and repositioned his IV leg (left, IIRC), a free flowing, well sited IV could easily speed up and bolus a whole bunch in a short time.

AA describes Murray REMOVING the IV-- what precisely does that mean? Did he actually pull out the intracath from the leg, or disconnect the tubing from a port cap? Or, did he remove one or the other of the liter bags and the tubing from the IV catheter, or unplug from the y-site? Remove is a broad term. I can't believe he would pull out his ONLY functioning IV in the middle of a full code! I remember that paramedic testimony in the prelim was that they had to change out the tubing on the IV because their needleless system wasn't compatible with the existing tubing, so I had assumed that Murray disconnected the slit bag from the y-site, and the mainline bag and tubing was still there until paramedics arrived. That would be consistent with my theory-- that the bag with bottle was piggybacked into the y-site with a simple needle. Murray had no needleless systems found in the room, so he was using needles to access vials.

Man, I REALLY want to know how many punctures were in the stoppers of each of the 100cc empty vials, including the one in the IV bag, because THAT would tell precisely how many times each vial was entered. If Murray was doing what he claims-- drawing up 2.5 to 5cc at a time in a 10cc syringe-- there would be MANY small punctures in each vial stopper of the 100cc vials. If he was dripping the propofol, which I strongly believe he was, there would only be ONE big hole, from the IV tubing spike. I wonder if forensics ever looked at the stoppers of any of the vials, to count holes.

I'm really looking forward to Elisa Fleak's testimony, and the pictures of what she found. The big question-- was there tubing spiked on the slit bag? That will tell the story much better.

Anonymous said...

I've watched the trial intermittently and like Sprocket, nothing diverges from the original pre-trial hearing. I read in some media rag that in only allowing the focus of the case to be on the last 72 hours of Jackson's life, Judge Pastor essentially gutted the defense's ability show that Jackson's drug problems, addictions, and overdoses may have made a self-inflicted overdose of Propofol possible to consider, essentially destroying the case. Is it possible for a judge to shape the direction of a case in this way? Or is this just media speculation?

Sprocket said...

Anon @ 6:40 pm:

IMHO, I think Judge Pastor's rulings have been the right ones.

MJ's prior drug use probably is a major factor in Jackson developing insomnia, However, I still don't see how that is relevant to the standard of care that Dr. Murray provided.

MJ may have been a full blown addict, but that doesn't mean MJ is responsible for the actions Dr. Murray took in the last hours of his life.

There were not-very-expensive pieces of equipment, (pulse-oxsemiter's with alarm bells and monitors) that Dr. Murray could have purchased, to monitor MJ while sedated, that would have set off alarms if his oxygen levels dropped dangerously low. That's just one thing that could have saved his life.