No way Jackson self-injected fatal drug: expert

Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:19pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The claim by attorneys of Michael Jackson's doctor that the singer killed himself with an injection of the powerful anesthetic propofol is a "crazy scenario," a top anesthesiology expert testified Thursday.

Dr. Steven Shafer told jurors that the level of propofol found in Jackson's bloodstream at his 2009 autopsy was too high to be explained by the theory that he self-injected.

As the last prosecution witness at Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial, Shafer also sought to undercut defense attorney theories that Jackson swallowed a fatal number of sedative lorazepam pills.

Murray admitted to police that, while at Jackson's mansion, he injected him with propofol and lorazepam as a sleep aid. But Murray's attorneys have argued Jackson could have given himself an extra, fatal dose of propofol while alone in his bedroom.

Shafer discounted that idea, saying the 50 year-old "Thriller" singer would have had to inject himself several times to achieve a cumulative rise of the propofol in his bloodstream.

"People just don't wake up from anesthesia like that," Shafer told jurors, after flailing his arms to mimic a patient regaining consciousness and then injecting himself.

"People don't wake up ... hellbent to give themselves another dose," Shafer said. "It's a crazy scenario."

Shafer used charts to explain that while propofol can stop a person from breathing, the heart continues beating for 10 minutes and circulates blood.   Continued...