3 Years Later: Remembering The Death of Michael Jackson

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.  It’s amazing how the African-American culture suddenly re-connected with the fallen soldier, Michael Jackson, right after his death. Prior to this major event, it appeared as though there was a significant disconnect between Michael and his African-American fans. The new experience of depression and continued bereavement are both shocking and a surprise to me as a mental health professional. Let’s just review a couple of interesting considerations.

  1. Did Micheal have recurrent allegations for participation in inappropriate behaviors with children?
  2. Didn’t Michael have an instance where he hung his baby upside down out of a window?
  3. Didn’t Michael’s  visual  image go from being a black male to… ?
  4. Is it possible for a Black male, by birth and genotype,  to produce 3 kids that look basically White?
  5. Have all of  the allegations of inappropriate drug use  suddenly disappeared?
  6. Did he not have the drug propofol and oxygen tanks in his home at his time of death?
  7. Did Michael have a serious problem with Substance Abuse and Dependence?

This does not take from his musical legacy at all, but as a mental health professional, we should closely monitor who we attempt to make a martyr. After all, Michael was truly loved by many of us but, there were significant changes over the past twenty years that turned most of us off.  He certainly deserves to be given credit where credit is due.  However, we still have to be careful not to cover-up or endorse bad behaviors. Moreover, he had the money and clout to get him out of some pretty tight situations. I don’t want to rain on this national day of mourning, I simply want to keep it real. Michael Jackson’s death is a fact and there were numerous factors that we should not forget.  He left a very strong legacy and the world will never forget him, but we still have to monitor who we make GODS.


Many of us have heard the old saying, “Where there is smoke there is fire!”  As a forensic Psychiatrist I am trained to look at the facts of a case and depositions a little differently. Here are a couple of facts for you to ponder:

  • Two doctors testified, under oath, testified that Dr.Murray refused to accept that Micheal was DOA(dead of arrival to the hospital)
  • Murray DID NOT reveal to medical providers that he had given Propofol (short-acting intravenously administered sedative-hypnotic)
  • He did reveal that he gave Lorazepam(commonly know as Ativan to lay persons) This drug is the kissing cousin of Alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax  to laypersons). Xanax has been called  the most addictive drug prescribed by Psychiatrists.  Drugs, in this class,  have been known to decrease the respiratory rates of humans.
  • Dr.Murray DID NOT activate 911 immediately. Phone records show that there was a critical delay that could have made a medical difference. There was testimony that Dr.Murray even called his girlfriend, Nicole Alvarez prior to activating EMS.  It appears that he may have panicked once Michael stopped responding.
  • The statement of testimony was that Dr.Murray screamed while doing chest compressions on Michael,“Does Anyone Know CPR?’ I am not sure why he would render this question in the crisis. Rumor has it his CPR certification had expired. So has mine so I better move on to the next fact. LOL However, all licensed physicians in America should know the ABCs of sustaining life for their patients.

In conclusion, I would never pass any premature judgment on a colleague.  However, there appears to be a few deviations from what we call, “normal standard of care” that may cause the defense some difficulty. I will follow this case and keep you updated. Let’s remain open and non-judgmental. I know that it may be hard for those of us who grew-up with the Icon Michael Jackson.

1. Do you think Dr.Murray should be convicted of Murder or Involuntary Manslaughter?

2.  Do you think that he deviated from the normal “standard of care?”

3.  Should the Jackson family “hold harmless” Dr. Murray since he was just doing what Micheal requested?

4. Should Dr. Murray be fined or go to jail for his clinical actions with this patient that just happens to be Michael Jackson?

Please let me hear from you on this issue……..

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