Monday, October 25, 2010

Conrad Murray vs. Doctor #2

I first learned about Dr. Frank Fisher while reading a pharmacy law study guide. I decided to "google" his name and found a lot of information about his quandaries, including his own account of what happened to him. I discussed Dr. Davill Armstrong in my previous blog. I must say, Dr. Fisher's plight has been much, much worse than that of Dr. Armstrong, in my opinion. Whereas Dr. Armstrong is a Texas physician who had his license suspended for some deficiency in his practice of medicine, Dr. Fisher is a California physician--a physician who practices in the same state in which Michael Jackson was killed--and he was charged with murder for over-prescribing opioid analgesics (painkillers). For the record, he did not administer them to his patients personally. His case is in no way similar to Conrad Murray's situation, as you will see shortly.

As of today, 10/25/2010, Fisher's license is active though for 8 years his license was suspended.

Dr. Fisher was charged with not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE murders. He was also implicated in the deaths of four other people as well. Unlike Michael, who was found deceased in the house under Murray's presumed "direct care"--authorities had to "go find bodies", as Fisher himself put it, in order to charge him with murder.

"In one case, for instance, Fisher was accused of causing the overdose death of a woman who actually had died of injuries sustained while riding in a vehicle that crashed. Another person succumbed to drugs apparently purchased from street sources after Fisher refused to write him a prescription."

Dr. Fisher discusses recalls the former case in his own words:

"Typical of my alleged murder victims was Rebecca Mae Williams, a 37-year-old who had suffered from incurable low-back pain. After exhausting alternative treatments, I had successfully controlled her pain with 80 milligrams of OxyContin twice a day, a dose that had allowed her to enjoy an active life. The day Becky died, she had taken her usual dose before going furniture shopping with her boyfriend. As their small truck rounded a curve, the driver's door flew open, and David, who was driving, fell out. The truck crashed into a tree, and the impact exploded my patient's heart, fractured her skull, broke her neck, and eviscerated her. Yet on the basis of an impossibly high level of oxycodone measured in a blood sample - later found to be contaminated - the county medical examiner asserted that Becky had died of a drug overdose."

I am still trying to understand how he was actually able to be charged with murder in Ms. Williams death. One would think it would be impossible, right? Right. I also say to myself, how could Dr. Fisher be charged with murder in the case above and Murray NOT be charged with it? Why is there a double-standard? I don't want to elaborate much on it but I do know that it was insinuated there may have been some issues concerning insurance reimbursements. Did $$$ have anything to do with why Fisher was so hotly pursued? I do not know and do not wish to speculate but I do know that money seems to always be an influencing factor in the vast majority of things.

I know many keep saying, regarding the possible trial against Murray, that "facts are facts". Facts are facts--but let's not forget how facts can be diluted with lies and misunderstandings, too. Dr. Fisher recalled of the trial he experienced:

"My preliminary hearing was the equivalent of a trial. The lead prosecutor was a career bureaucrat with a reputation for winning elder-abuse cases. His first witness was a family practitioner from a neighboring community health center who served as the primary source of the state's information about pain management. She had already articulated her formulation of the case against me for the local paper: 'The majority of patients were on doses that we had never seen before. Some of the doses we thought were incompatible with life.'

Soon after my attorney began his cross-examination, however, this witness admitted that she lacked even a minute's worth of training in pain management. He led her to repeat her public claim that each patient has a certain dosage of opioid analgesics that will surely kill him.

The trap had been set. Asked to read aloud several lines from the OxyContin product literature brochure, this witness read a statement asserting what all competent pain-treating physicians know - pure opioid agonists have no ceiling dose.

The trap was now sprung. Gesturing to the gallery of the courtroom, which was packed with my patients, my attorney identified the 'walking dead.' All very much alive, my patients began howling with laughter. The state's case had just sustained irreparable damage.

Next, the prosecutor called to the stand the founder of the pain management center at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. When asked about the quantities of OxyContin I had prescribed, the physician responded, 'The absolute numbers don't bother me a bit. I have cases of my own that I can show on higher doses than any patient that Fisher ever had in all the records that I've got.' The witness finished his testimony by stating that I appeared to have practiced medicine in good faith. Later, the bailiff chuckled as he escorted me to a holding cell. 'Sometimes it goes well in court,' he said, 'but never that well!'

Over the next several months, as the prosecution sent an army of investigators across the county to try to unearth evidence that would prop up their faltering case, the hearing stretched out to 21 days of testimony. During that time, my defense didn't have a single bad day in court. Each witness the prosecution called dug the hole they were in deeper.

As the prosecution's case fell apart, multiple incidents of police and prosecutorial misconduct surfaced. A witness was threatened in an attempt to coerce testimony favorable to the prosecution. A conspiracy to violate Miranda rights was exposed. A witness recanted, and the prosecutor was caught knowingly eliciting false testimony from one of his investigators.

During a cross-examination on the final day of testimony, my attorney lured the government's last witness, a police investigator from the attorney general's office, into remarking upon the atmosphere in my clinic. The agent wasn't supposed to have known what went on in my clinic because, until this point, the prosecuting attorneys had withheld the fact that they had sent agents to my clinic to scam for drugs.
After the agent's admission, my attorney walked behind me, placed his hands on my shoulders, and bellowed, 'And not one of them got anything, did they?' The agent just hung his head and muttered, 'Not that I know of.'

On July 15, 1999, the hearing finally ended. The judge dismissed all five murder charges, reducing three to man-slaughter. (One of the manslaughter counts was for a young man who wasn't even my patient, but the judge told me he suspected I had something to do with the death.) The judge dropped my bail from $15 million to $50,000 and told me not to practice medicine until the criminal charges were resolved.'


The point of what I have posted above is to look at what occurred during his trial. There were unqualified experts giving "expert testimony", there were "multiple incidents of police and prosecutorial misconduct" and we see from this that he was charged with murder which was then dropped to involuntary manslaughter.

Now, what you need to do with the information above is twist it around and see the reversal of it to see what I am getting at with this piece. Dr. Murray, no matter how you look at it, conducted no positive actions concerning Michael. Obviously not, Michael is deceased. I can say Dr. Fisher was treating patients who had pain with pain medication--I will not decide if he treated them overzealously or not. Murray was "treating" Michael's insomnia with a deep anesthetic that rendered him into a coma with no way to breathe for himself (on top of three benzodiazepines that can also cause one to stop breathing). That is not treatment--it is homicide.

What I want you to picture is the impending trial that may loom in Murray's future. Our victim here, Michael, is a real victim. He is not only a victim in death but a victim in life. Michael's life was scarred and made into a life of torment by the perjury of others who put him through the 2005 trial that should not have even happened (I will not get into why there should have been no trial now but this can be further explored in Lynton Guest's book "The Trials of Michael Jackson"). Those atrocities, the molestation allegations and now the drug abuse claims, could easily influence how Murray's trial, if he even faces one, will play out. We could see unqualified experts giving testimony on behalf of the defense (remember, in medicine not much is "exact"--people are still debating on whether or not vaccines cause autism). We do not know how badly the prosecution wants to convict Murray--we do not know the Los Angeles' district attorneys who will be handling the case's view of Michael--if they have any similar sentiments to that of former Santa Barbara D.A. Tom "Mad Dog" Sneddon then we can assume Murray will be the victor by far and Michael once again be defamed beyond recognition. So far Murray is sitting comfortably on involuntary manslaughter charges rather than murder charges when his story makes absolutely no sense even from an accidental point of view and, in my opinion, he should be facing strict liability like Eric Cropp and Rapin Osathanondh.

Four years passed from the time Dr. Fisher was arrested until his trial began--this is rather typical. Murray received involuntary manslaughter charges rather swiftly and a possible trial is to begin soon. Are authorities even looking into other avenues as to what happened to Michael or do they just want to get this case over and done? Michael deserves justice--whether you like him or not. If this had happened to your family member who was desperate for sleep so they could keep what fed their children and kept them sheltered (see my blog regarding the AEG contract if this statement does not make sense to you), and all other treatments for insomnia had failed, and there was a critical misunderstanding that a supposed previously-used "safe remedy" was neither useful nor safe, but a doctor chose to utilize it anyway in the most illogical of scenarios and then failed in every way possible to keep them alive when they would have remained alive had simple precautions been available and used--you would be crying out murder and conspiracy, too. Involuntary manslaughter does not say "conspiracy"--it says freak, deadly but minor, accident.

I ask all readers to please take the time to read the sources listed below not only to compare Dr. Fisher's dilemma to the (almost lack of) Murray's dilemma but I also would like for everyone to get a better understanding of some of the patient cases discussed by Dr. Fisher and why he says authorities went after him so aggressively as well.

Sources:
http://www.doctordeluca.com/Library/WOD/WPS7-Fisher/PainKillerFisher06.htm
http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-05-20/news/17427801_1_fisher-case-pain-sufferers-patients-with-chronic-pain

16 comments:

  1. (...) «But there’s a reason Dr. Conrad Murray was not formally accused of anything until nearly eight months after Jackson’s death. Doctors who screw up are rarely charged with crimes, unless they have committed insurance fraud.(...)

    http://www.reportingonhealth.org/blogs/conrad-murray%E2%80%99s-mistakes-why-does-michael-jackson%E2%80%99s-doctor-face-criminal-charges-when-others-d

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  2. More here: http://www.reportingonhealth.org/category/keywords/conrad-murray

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  3. Hi skeptikos! Been a while, wondered where you were!

    The first link you posted says what I wanted to say, I was just not so bold. Cannot help agree 100%.

    Dr. Neil Ratner practiced while high but it was insurance that got his license suspended. Dr. Armstrong also faced some insurance fraud issues that I did not elaborate on, but it likely had a influence on his suspension.

    I would not be shocked if we could find some source of insurance fraud on Murray's behalf given his roving nature and extreme debt/recklessness with money (check Nevada public files).

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  4. Hi Nikki!
    I've been around as always.

    Anyway, kinda off topic... what is unbelievable is that Murray was in arrears $100,000 plus penalties on a $1.7 million mortgage, for his Red Rock Country Club mansion. It was reported that his monthly mortgage of $15000 has not been paid since January 2009.
    Read more: http://newsflavor.com/entertainment/dr-conrad-murray-faces-foreclosure/#ixzz13QQcfTe4
    And here: http://uk.eonline.com/uberblog/b136637_jackson_doctors_sketchy_past.html

    Yeah, tab's (!) but I wonder if it was MJ in his (Murray) shoes facing foreclosure?! Another smelly issue.

    Who's paying Murray’s bills (mortgages; lawyers; vacations; child support; everything)?
    Weird, to say the list., or not.

    Read: http://celebrifi.com/gossip/EXCLUSIVE-Dr-Conrad-Murray-Settles-Lawsuit-Over-165-Million-Loan-3671061.html

    MGM Mirage owns Red Rock Country Club.

    And I'll add: «MGM Mirage, which is controlled by billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, came into being in 2000 when MGM Grand Inc. bought out Steve Wynn’s Mirage Resorts and, along with it, the Mirage, the Bellagio, the Treasure Island, the Golden Nugget sites, the Beau Rivage, and a half-interest in the Monte Carlo. As MGM Mirage, the company sold off the Golden Nuggets and the Treasure Island and picked up sole ownership of Monte Carlo when, in 2005, it bought Mandalay Resorts Group.» + a ref to MJ.

    Read more: http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/daily-brief/2010/04/20/kirk-kirkorian-led-mgm-mirage-to-change-its-name#ixzz13QboyTwo

    Now, see this "Who owns what in Vegas":
    MGM/Mirage ties to Dubai World
    Colony Capital ties to Kirk Kerkorian
    http://www.vegastodayandtomorrow.com/whoownswhat.htm

    More here in MGM Studios Inc:
    http://www.mgm.com/corporate/section/info/index.html

    Interesting tangled web, don’t you think?

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  5. What are your thought on Annie Nicole case?

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  6. Check out this case, also in the Los Angeles courts.


    Inglewood physician now faces murder charge

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_15542228?IADID

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  7. Last year dr klien made claim he gave Michael 51 shot of demerol in 3month did you see that story and what are your thought on it?
    I am trying to paste the ling but it's not working,
    But the story is out there if you search for it.

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  8. BTW, you may already be aware, but here is an update concerning Oprah's interview with Katherine Jackson. On many levels I'm apposed to Oprah stepping foot in Mrs. Katherine Jackson's house, however, I also understand that O still has one of the largest audiences out there despite her ratings slip in recent years.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't under estimate Katherine, but I don't under estimate O either! God bless you Katherine and I pray that you will be able to tell your story with out O putting a negative spin on it somehow. One can hope.:

    Oprah show with Katherine, Joe and children to air November 8th.

    Source:
    http://www.legendarymichaeljackson.nl/?p=1962

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  9. Dr. Neil Ratner has been mentioned. Yes, it was insurance fraud that got him trouble primarily. I'm adding a link that references his felony conviction in detail.

    Although not part of his felony conviction, it is alleged that he introduced Michael to Propofol in the mid to late 90's. It is also alleged that he introduced this as an insomnia treatment to other performers such as member(s) of the band Pink Floyd.

    Source:
    http://w3.health.state.ny.us/opmc/factions.nsf/58220a7f9eeaafab85256b180058c032/d37172ffaeddd52685256bff00655907/$FILE/lc148415.pdf

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  10. Sorry for posting so many times today!...:-)

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  11. Wow, thanks for the info Skeptikos! I have been meaning to try and look into this. I know Murray had about 700K in debt before Michael died. He was sued for child support, seems those payments (I know one is for I believe about a thousand a month) have been paid on time since Michael's death, or had for a good while. I do not know what the status is on that payment now. Yes, seems Murray has been enjoying vacations with mistresses, enjoying time at the gym, enjoying life in general. How so? I find it odd he was driving his "sister's" car from Texas, apparently lived with her while in Houston, apparently Murray shacked up with a mistress in California. This is a doctor we are talking about and he couldn't afford to pay for his own lodging? We need to do more digging.

    Do we know if that mortgage is only in his name or his and his wife's name?

    I am not sure what to think about this Colony Capital tie to the Red Rock Country Club. William Bone is in the mix, too. The most obvious thing to me is there are aspects of Michael's life that do not add up. There was money missing, there is money flowing under tables, there is too much going on for so many to just be getting "lucky" now that Michael is gone.

    A friend recently told me that Barrack purchased Miramax, right?

    I will check your links hopefully tonight. I am trying to catch up with blog posts. Thanks again!

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  12. Hi Bridgett,
    Haven't really followed Anna Nicole's case closely. Sounds like the doctor who wrote the scripts got off and everyone else was pegged. IMO, Anna Nicole was a tragic figure. I think people around her took advantage of her. I do not know how much of her problem was depression, how much was illness (she supposedly had lupus, too, right?) and how much was it of her having a personal drug issue? I don't know. I think it is odd how many have been charged with her death when the medicines she died from she could have very well taken on her own that night. Michael did not self-inject, he did not give himself those medications, they was no reason to give propofol, yet Murray is facing one puny charge for what I see as a heinous crime.

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  13. Wow Anon, that is insane! That doctor thought he could do a gallbladder surgery in a clinic?! That is a deep surgery. I would like to know if the doctor really did perform 50 of them before! If so, then it does sound like this could have been an accident, albeit gross negligence for sure. But see, there are 2nd degree murder charges for that doctor yet Murray is not facing hardly anything when he wasn't even attempting a procedure--he was giving a medication that does not induce sleep! There are still such differences that should show us all the gravity of the crime and thought processes Murray established.

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  14. Hi again Bridgett,
    I actually have the document/claim that Klein submitted. It was for 51 "injections" (I did not count actually)--it did not specify Demerol. Almost every visit Michael was getting fillers placed in his face which I have been told are painful. Thing is, if Michael received some Demerol before having procedures done to his face, that is okay. If he was getting Demerol just "to get", that is a problem. If you look at photographs from March to June you can tell that he had had a lot of work done. I must also add that Klein's statement is a bit puzzling. For example, he charged about $1000 for a glaucoma medication that can be used to grow eyelashes. That is outrageous. I guess my point is, I don't trust the billing. If you want me to link the bills up here for you let me know!

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  15. Hi Sandy!

    Yeah, I mean I have no problem with Katherine speaking out for her son. It is only natural. My problem is who she spoke to and now we know that Katherine's interview will be airing directly after the show featuring 200 men who were sexually molested. That is just the tip of the iceberg, Oprah had many shows about pedophilia/molestation when Michael was being degraded by the media. It is no coincidence. Michael was deeply hurt by Oprah. Because of that I could not allow someone like that into my house even if her audience is large and I could speak out. I would feel like I was betraying Michael. I would have to go about it some other way.

    I have heard that Neil Ratner is rumored to have given propofol to Michael. I have also heard that a German doctor gave it. Problem is, how did they do this? I have been meaning to write a blog about this. Propofol does not induce sleep. It induces a coma. If given bolus like Murray gave it, it will put you into a very short coma, like 10 or so minutes--then what? They "wake up". If you give it via drip and rendered them unconscious with such, to the best of my knowledge, the patient would need to be intubated or have a bag-valve mask in use and I do not think Michael was intubated on a nightly basis back then for 8 or so hours a night. If propofol was given I cannot help but think maybe it was given to initially knock him out but then something else was used to actually help him sleep with him keeping the ability to breathe on his own during the night. This is kind of hard to explain and I wish there was an anesthesiologist around to help me out on this. I mean, it is rare enough to hear of propofol used without a patient being fully intubated as it is and intubation is not a good thing, I will just say that. I had not heard of Neil Ratner using propofol in regard to Pink Floyd! I will check out your link here shortly. Thanks Sandy!

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