Jurors in Jackson trial see video on propofol use

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:16pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jurors in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor were shown a detailed video on Wednesday on the correct use of the drug that killed the singer -- a potentially damaging presentation that differed sharply from accounts of how the doctor cared for him.

Propofol, an anesthetic normally used to sedate patients before surgery, was ruled the main cause the "Thriller" singer's death in June 2009. Dr. Conrad Murray has admitted giving Jackson the drug to help him sleep.

Dr. Steven Shafer, regarded as one of the leading researchers in the use of propofol, narrated the medical training video from the witness stand as the prosecution neared the end of its case in Murray's trial for involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles.

Murray's attorneys claim Jackson gave himself an extra, fatal dose of the drug when the doctor was out of the singer's bedroom.

Previous prosecution witnesses have testified that Murray failed to take key safety precautions and that propofol should not be used for insomnia.

Wednesday's video showed doctors in scrubs and gloves attending to a patient in a sterile operating room, with electronic monitors and displays. They meticulously checked medical tools and machines that witnesses say were absent in the bedroom where Murray gave Jackson propofol.

Those included emergency tools to open a patient's airway if the person stops breathing, and Shafer told jurors that equipment must be close-by during a surgical procedure.

"If you have to walk even a few feet and the patient is not getting oxygen, it's a few feet too far," said Shafer, a professor at Columbia University who helped set the U.S. standards for propofol dosage.   Continued...