|Trial Testimony Update - Wednesday|
(19-10-2011) The involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray resumed testimony Wednesday after a five day break due to scheduling conflicts, lab tests and a death in the family of the prosecution's expert witness.
In day 13 of the testimony, jurors watched a video of a demonstration of proper propofol use in a proper hospital setting. The video showed an actor pretending to suffer cardiac arrest while under sedation by the drug. It also showed real doctors and nurses successfully reviving the pretend patient using equipment, drugs and staffing that Dr. Murray did not have at Jackson's home when he administered the drug to him.
The video walked jurors through the many precautions doctors take, from checking each piece of equipment before administering anesthesia to using a mechanized pump to dispense exact amounts of propofol.
Repeatedly pausing the video, made at his request by a colleague to emphasize the ways Murray’s actions strayed from the appropriate administration of the drug, anesthesiologist expert Dr. Steven Shafer narrated from the witness stand, explaining step by step how he prepares and administers propofol.
When the anesthesiologist in the video discovered his patient not breathing, the words "CALL FOR HELP!" flashed across the top of the screen.
Phone records show the reason Murray didn't notice immediately that Jackson was in distress was because he was busy making phone calls and text messages. Even after he did discover Jackson stricken, he waited more than 20 minutes before asking that 911 be called.
In the video, the doctor could be seen administering two-handed CPR with a caption that said resuscitation efforts should continue until the patient was either revived or dead. A Jackson security guard previously testified that Murray performed chest compressions sporadically and with one hand.
"It's a terrifying dramatization of a person experiencing cardiac arrest, complete with visual effects," defense attorney Ed Chernoff said in his argument against allowing jurors to see the video.
While Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ordered Walgren to edit several segments from the video, he did allow much of it to be shown in court, including a demonstration of what happens when a patient experiences cardiac arrest while under the drug.
Shafer, who is one of the world's foremost experts on anesthesiology, testified that he is not being paid for his testimony because he did not want people to think money would influence what he had to say.
He said he agreed to testify, at no charge, because he feared the publicity surrounding Jackson's death has harmed "the reputation of physicians," Shafer said. "I felt a need to help restore confidence that physicians put patients first."
Propofol, which he uses regularly, has been given a bad reputation, he said.
Judge Pastor indicated if Shafer's testimony is completed Wednesday, court would recess the following day to allow the defense to prepare before presenting its case on Friday.
Prosecutors are nearing the conclusion to their direct presentation, but rebuttal witnesses could be called next week after the defense rests its case.
As of this posting, Dr. Shafer was still on the witness stand.
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