Did Michael Jackson swallow a fatal dose of propofol?

September 28, 2011, 11:27 am

From pre-trial hearings and yesterday’s opening arguments in court, it is apparent that the defense team for Dr. Conrad Murray — the physician accused of manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson — plans to argue that Jackson administered the fatal dose of propofol to himself, possibly by swallowing it. This contention is certainly based in part on the forensic toxicology report, which showed 0.13 mg of propofol in the singer’s gastric contents.  It is unclear from the report whether this is a total amount or is based on volume.  Interestingly, lidocaine was also found in the gastric contents.  Lidocaine is often administered with propofol to prevent burning, but this would obviously be unnecessary if the drug was ingested (unless it was pre-mixed). To my knowledge, there are no studies showing to what extent, if any, propofol might undergo postmorten redistribution, with leakage of the drug from the circulatory system into stomach contents.

Apparently the prosecution has retained an expert witness who is expected to testify that it would have been impossible for Jackson to have swallowed the fatal dose.

This trial involves many fascinating toxicology issues.  TPR will follow developments closely.  The trial itself is being televised in its entirety on HLN.

Related posts:

Propofol effects, blood levels, and abuse

Propofol as a drug of abuse

Michael Jackson toxicology report released



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