‘The Doctor’ in the title of this article doesn’t refer to anyone as enduring as the BBC’s famous Doctor i.e. Dr. Who. It refers to Michael Jackson’s personal doctor for the ‘This Is It’ concert rehearsals and the O2 residency that was to follow.
Even now, nearly eight years after Michael’s death, I am loath to type the man’s name. However, in the past week, 12th – 16th June 2017, Conrad Murray (there, I’ve written it!) has been making fresh headlines in the media, albeit a long way from the scene of his downfall in Beverly Hills, California.
Reports surfaced on more than one regional media website in the Caribbean that Conrad Murray has reputedly been treating patients at a private medical clinic in Trinidad without the required licence.
The Jamaican Observer reported on June 14th that Murray was the subject of a probe on the matter by the Ministry of Health in liaison with the Council of the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago.
According to the Observer, “Over the last weekend, the Sunday Newsday reported that Murray had been attending to patients at a private medical facility in central Trinidad.” (1)
I am always reluctant to read comments posted on news articles, given that they are often just an excuse for people to rant and proclaim their own views on the subject, often without recourse to verifiable facts! But, I was curious in this instance to read if Murray was garnering any sympathy for his apparent predicament.
In this instance, the consensus seemed (logically) to be that the man needed to be properly licensed to practice in their country. For sure, I thought. One comment however suggested that given Murray had acquiesced to Michael Jackson’s desire for propofol to prompt sleep, he had been “a victim of circumstance” in the matter of Michael’s death.
The comment was not accusatory of MJ, but it was certainly ignorant of Murray’s culpability for what happened and sympathetic to his current situation.
Just as I normally avoid reading comments on public news sites, I also rarely respond to them. However, I could not let this comment on Murray pass without having my say. I subsequently submitted the following reply:
Murray did not follow required medical practice, kept no medical records, mislead the paramedics into what he had given Michael, and delayed calling them far longer than he should have. He also lied to the police as revealed by his phone records and other evidence that came out in his criminal trial. Irrespective of what he was asked to do, it was his failure through negligence to properly monitor and assist his patient that was/is and always should be a criminal offence. He has always (in media interviews) denied responsibility for his own actions – this is unconscionable. The judge’s summation at Murray’s sentencing hearing is a damning indictment of this ‘doctor’s’ failure in his duty of care and attempts to cover it up. I suggest anyone with doubts about Murray’s guilt listen to what Judge Pastor has to say... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAhCOtX_2rg
15 June 2017 – posted in ‘comments’ on the Jamaica Observer article. (2)
Initially I believed that, in taking on the job of Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Murray had just been totally out of his depth, despite his credentials as a cardiologist with clinics in Nevada and Texas. But, that didn’t absolve him of not taking due care in treating Michael’s insomnia, or any other ailments. If you’re not up to the job, get out and let someone better suited do it. Someone, for example, who doesn’t leave his sedated patient unmonitored while he leaves the room to make phone calls!
However, Murray, in his actions prior and after Michael’s death, has displayed a desire for money that explains why he was willing to do what he did for Michael. Murray’s need for a big pay cheque was acute! The man had serious financial problems before he took the job. He asked for more money than Michael was prepared to pay, but still accepted a more reasonable figure and promptly closed his clinics and abandoned his patients to relocate to Los Angeles as the personal doctor to the world’s greatest music icon.
His financial plight explains his actions, yes, but it does not excuse them.
We must remember that at his criminal trial Murray waived the opportunity to speak in his own defence; yet while incarcerated by the State for the crime of involuntary manslaughter, he gave interviews to the media from his cell, and on release began the rounds of the media to tell his version of the story.
He would talk to the media – for a fee – but he wouldn’t talk to the jury to save himself from a prison sentence. Why? Because his story, as he would have us believe it in his documentary, in his television interviews and, most shameful of all, in his supposed ‘tell all’ book, consists of fabrications and obfuscations.
Murray had no defence that justified his actions in the way he treated (or mistreated) Michael Jackson, at least none that could have changed the minds of the jury. Certainly, he had no defence that would stand up against the evidence that had been gathered by the prosecution.
Murray’s willingness to talk about his famous former patient outside of the court room, in return for financial reward, is shameful behaviour for a medical professional, irrespective of his role in that patient’s demise.
If it is indeed true that Murray has recently been treating patients at a clinic in Trinidad without the appropriate licence from the health authorities of that country, it is just the latest example of him revealing his true colours in terms of his lack of respect for his own profession, not to mention the trust patients have placed in him.
It is not a scenario that makes any sense, either, given the savage blow dealt his career by his conviction. You would think that if he wanted to rebuild credibility he would be diligent in ticking all the right boxes, signing all the right forms, and acquiring the appropriate approvals to practice in the region in question.
If he has failed to do this, it is further proof of his flagrant disregard for correct medical procedures in the treatment of vulnerable persons. You’d think he’d have learned his lesson.
Lest we forget, here’s an extract from an article in the Telegraph of 7 November 2011 following the jury’s verdict:
[Prosecutor David] Walgren said: “Michael Jackson literally put his life in the hands of Conrad Murray. That misplaced trust cost Michael Jackson his life. He died alone in his bed. Conrad Murray left this vulnerable man, abandoned him, to fend for himself. It violates not only the standard of care, but decency from one human being to another.” (3)
Personally, while I detest what he did, I can’t bring myself to ‘hate’ Conrad Murray. It serves no purpose to waste intense emotions on him – especially not if they give me an ulcer! Rather, over the years since his actions of 25 June 2009 (and those leading up to that day) I have just wished him to disappear from public view. I wished he would quietly redeem himself in the eyes of his Maker by doing charity work in some needy part of the world – out of our sight!
But no, he has repeatedly surfaced with some comment, some statement, some tall tale or promotional plan or two, to keep our emotional wounds raw and weeping. And now he’s making headlines again.
I think we’ve all bled enough, Dr Murray. I wish you’d be gone.
June 15, 2017
Postscript, June 23, 2017:
According to an article published on the Trinidad Express website on June 17, Conrad Murray insists that he has been fully registered with the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago since 2000. Murray’s medical licences for California, Texas and Nevada in the US have been suspended but he is adamant that he is properly licensed to practise in T&T. A letter from Murray’s attorney to the MBTT claims that the Medical Board, its servants and/or agents and/or employees are “disseminating erroneous information with respect to my client’s registration status.” The letter indicates that legal action might be forthcoming to solidify Murray’s status as a licensed medical doctor in T&T.
The article explains that while it is not necessary to renew a medical licence annually, an annual fee is required to be paid. However, according to Murray’s attorney, the MBTT has refused to accept Murray’s fee. This will be the basis for any legal proceedings against the MBTT. He also added that action for defamation will be taken against Newsday for the “blatant falsehoods” printed in its reports. Checks by the Sunday Express revealed Murray’s name is indeed listed on the MBTT’s National Register of Medical Practitioners. Dr Randall Rampersad, owner of the medical centre where Murray has been retained as a cardiovascular consultant, told the media that he will also be filing separate lawsuits next week against various entities, as his clinic has been brought into disrepute.
Rampersad cites Murray’s plans to establish an “acute stroke and vascular intervention centre” in Trinidad and operate a charitable foundation for people in need of surgeries who are on a waiting list in the public health sector as the reason for Murray being a target. The attorney claims that people in the medical fraternity see him as a “threat” to their work, the extent of which is further detailed in the Express article. Murray believes “It is clearly an attack from the medical cartel.” (4)
While this news may make us re-think our opinions on Murray’s work in Trinidad, it does not change my sentiments as expressed above in relation to his actions associated with Michael Jackson nor the lack of remorse he has shown from those actions to date. – KH, June 23, 2017