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Autopsy shocker: Jackson was healthy

October 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The official autopsy report is the most complete and detailed picture of Michael Jackson's health we have ever seen. Overall, it shows that Jackson was a fairly healthy man before his overdose. He had a few medical problems, but all in the realm of normal.As Michael Jackson was rehearsing for his tour, the report says he struggled with arthritis, pain in the lower spine and some fingers.

The coroner found a mild build up of plaque in his leg arteries, but it was his lungs that presented the most serious problem.

The autopsy found evidence that they were chronically inflamed. He may have had difficulty breathing. He was not emaciated as reported by the tabloids, but he was thin. Jackson at 5' 9" weighted 136 pounds, within the normal range.

However, according to the document, the lung condition was not serious enough to be a direct or contributing cause of death.

"There were no organ issues or chronic organ problems. The cardiovascular status was fine," said anesthesiologist Dr. Jayson Hymes.

The coroner's office announced last month that Jackson's death was a homicide caused by "acute propofol intoxication," with the other sedatives listed as a contributing factor.

Three other sedatives, known as benzodiazepines, were present with propofol.

"This situation is a homicide. Something that could of been done appropriately and safely was not done appropriately and turned out not to be safe," said Dr. Hymes.

Jackson's arms were covered with needle marks. Aside from propofol and the sedatives, the only substances found in his system were the local anesthetic, Lidocaine, sometimes used to numb injection sites and ephedrine, a commonly used resuscitation stimulant.

No other drugs - legal or otherwise - were detected, nor was any alcohol.

He had chest bruising and cracked ribs from CPR, and a mechanical device known as a balloon pump was inserted into his heart to try to restart it, according to the autopsy report.

He had a ¾-inch scar behind his left ear and another apparent scar behind his right ear. He had a scar beside each of his nostrils and another, 4-inch scar on his right shoulder. He had a pair of additional scars about 3-inches long at the base of his neck and smaller scars on his arms and wrist. He also had a small scar near his navel and a 2-inch scar on the right-hand side of his abdomen.

Jackson had several tattoos, all them cosmetic, including dark tattoos in the areas of both eyebrows and under his eyes, and a pink tattoo around his lips.

He was going bald at the front of his head, with his remaining hair described as short and tightly curled. The bald part of his scalp was darkened with what appeared to be a tattoo stretching across the top of his head from ear to ear.

Jackson died at his rented Los Angeles mansion June 25 after his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, administered the anesthetic propofol and two other sedatives to get the chronic insomniac to sleep, court documents state.

Murray is the target of what Los Angeles police term a manslaughter investigation.

Pepperdine Law professor Steven Cron says if Dr. Murray is indicted he will now have to rely on another defense.

"He was doing what he thought was appropriate," said Cron. "He was following appropriate medical regimens and there was a bad result, but it was not Dr. Murray's fault."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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