This week in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray who is charged with involuntary manslaughter, on accusation of professional negligence causing the death of Michael Jackson, had independent medical experts giving their opinions.
Murray, according to a CNN report, had placed Michael Jackson on regular doses of propofol.
The question the court is seeking to determine is whether the doctor administered the correct dosage and whether, as a medical professional, he acted competently, after Michael Jackson stopped breathing.
The third expert testifying this week, Dr. Nader Kamangar, a UCLA sleep therapist, said Dr. Conrad Murray used diazepam(valium), lorazepam (Ativan) and midazolam (versed) in combination with propofol (Dipravan), a powerful anesthetic. In the expert opinion of Dr. Nader Kamangar, according to AP report on Washington Post:
"Mr. Jackson was receiving very inappropriate therapy in a home setting, receiving very potent therapies without monitoring...This cocktail was a recipe for disaster."
When Murray's attorney J. Michael Flanagan, asked Dr. Kamangar whether the combination could have caused death, the doctor answered, "Absolutely."
Dr. Nader Kamangar, according to CBS News report, was the third prosecution expert witness to criticize Dr. Conrad Murray's handling of his famous patient.
In Dr. Nader Kamanger's expert opinion, Dr. Conrad Murray erred in his use of propofol to treat insomnia in Michael Jackson. He also indicted Dr. Murray for failing to call 911 immediately Jackson stopped breathing, and faulted his failure to keep record of treatment of his patient.
Murray's defense team had, on Wednesday, gone back on their major line of defense — that Jackson had taken extra doses of propofol without Dr. Murray's knowledge. Dr. Kamangar attacked the testimony that Jackson had demanded for propofol. He said Jackson's demand does not justify Dr. Murray's use of the drug for his patient. Dr. Murray should have noted his patient's history of insomnia and called insomnia experts to evaluate him.
The prosecution also called Dr. Steven Shafer, an expert in the drug propofol, which Dr. Nader Kamangar said could have caused Michael Jackson's death. But according to CBS News, Dr. Shafer could not begin his substantive testimony before the trial recessed.
Shafer, who is one of the leading experts who established guidelines for the use of propofol for sedation, will be the final prosecution witness.
Some critics have, however, said court proceedings have been complicated by conflicting profusion of expert opinions, may of whom, critics allege, seem more focused on enhancing their credentials as inerrant experts in the field than on the tragedy of death of the pop singer and the goal of determining the circumstances of his death. An opinion article on Bignewsnetwork.com comments scathingly,
"Most of the witnesses seemed overly zealous in making their points, often elaborating into areas beyond the scope of the questions being asked. Smug looks, gloating at being able to make a point, continually looking at and speaking to the jury, gave the impression, rightly or wrongly, they had been coached...Nader Kamangar, an intensive care and sleep problems expert, who appeared before the court on Thursday was typical. He repeatedly directed his answers to the jury, only occasionally looking at his questioner, and elaborated on his answers to give weight to his opinions. At one stage J. Michael Flanagan, the defense attorney...asked Kamangar after a lengthy answer, 'Do you remember the question?'"
The writer strongly criticized the "system in most countries[which] allows the parties, the prosecution and the defense, to appoint experts," a situation which the writer thinks compromises the independence of the experts:
"The experts themselves are often polished performers and are paid fees to write their reports or reviews and give testimony. Those that perform well, in terms of aiding the side they are on, can look forward to enhanced reputations in their field, more work and more fees. Those that don’t obviously miss out. To a large degree they are incentivised. It is very rare, and by no means a coincidence, that an independent expert gives crucial testimony that is unhelpful to the party that engaged him. "