Michael Jackson’s personal physician sentenced to four years in prison

November 29, 2011

Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician who attended to Michael Jackson before the pop singer’s death, was sentenced to four years in prison and denied probation on Tuesday. Earlier this month, Murray was found guilty of one count of involuntary manslaughter of the late pop star who died in June 2009.

Murray was convicted for his use of the anesthetic propofol on Jackson, despite Murray’s argument that Jackson might have administered the lethal dose to himself. Murray treated Jackson during the months leading up to Jackson’s “This is It” concert tour.

Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009 was determined by a coroner to be caused by acute propofal intoxication.

Murray was given the maximum sentencing possible, and he will serve time in county jail.

Alon Steinberg, a cardiologist based in Ventura County, testified against Murray during the two-month Murray trial, appearing as an expert witness on October 12. Steinberg, who attends services at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue and the Chabads of Ventura County and Malibu, gave an exclusive phone interview with the Journal on November 7, the day Murray was found guilty.

“Thank God the jury did the right thing,” Steinberg said that day.

Before his appearance in court last month, David Walgren, a representative of the prosecution in the Murray trial, interviewed Steinberg personally to determine if Steinberg was qualified to give testimony in the case. He determined he was.

In addition to his professional duties, Steinberg reviews malpractice cases for the California Medical Board, an agency that licenses medical doctors. “I always [try] to be fair as possible, to protect the patient and try to protect the doctor. Doctors work very hard and sometimes there’s a lot of false accusations,” he said.

In the case of Murray, there appeared to be enough evidence to support the accusations against him, specifically that he practiced gross negligence while treating Jackson. The prosecution team in the Murray said that on the night of June 2009, when Jackson suffered respiratory arrest in his home, Murray contacted members of Jackson’s security team instead of 911, tried to clean up some of the medicine he’d been treating Jackson before authorities arrived; didn’t properly monitor Jackson’s vital signs and performed inadequate CPR, New York Times says.

Murray’s defense argued that Jackson had begged Murray for propofol. The case, thus, raised questions about how much say a patient should have in his or her own treatment.

Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor handed down the sentencing of Murray today.

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