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ER doctor: Murray didn't mention propofol

January 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Paramedics and doctors who responded to Michael Jackson on the day of his death took the stand on Thursday in the preliminary trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.A paramedic, Martin Blount, testified that Murray grabbed three bottles of painkillers and placed the vials in a bag.

Blount said Murray told paramedics that Jackson had passed out about a minute before 911 was called.

Blount said he thinks Jackson may have been dead for at least 20 minutes before he and other emergency personnel arrived.

Murray is accused of giving Jackson a lethal dose of the powerful sedative propofol. According to prosecutors, Murray admitted that for two straight months prior to the 50-year-old's death, he gave him propofol nearly every night to help the singer sleep. The drug is typically used in hospitals to put patients under for serious surgery, not to treat insomnia.

Emergency room Dr. Richelle Cooper worked on Jackson when he was brought in by paramedics. Cooper testified that Murray told her he had given Jackson two milligrams of the sedative lorazepam and told her he saw Jackson stop breathing.

Cooper said that when she asked if any other drugs were administered, Murray said no. The testimonies followed an emotional day for the Jackson family.

Alberto Alvarez was the first guard to reach the bedroom where Jackson died June 25, 2009. On Wednesday, the 34-year-old bodyguard testified through tears as he described the scene.

He said when he asked Murray what had happened, the doctor said, "He had a reaction - a bad reaction."

Another bodyguard testified Tuesday that both of Jackson's children, Paris and Prince, witnessed Murray trying to revive Jackson's lifeless body.

Alvarez said Paris yelled out, "Daddy!" and started crying. Alvarez went on to say that Jackson appeared dead, yet Murray did not immediately instruct him to dial 911.

When asked by the prosecutor what Alvarez noticed in Jackson's bedroom, the bodyguard said he saw an IV stand next to the bed and a plastic tube attached to Jackson's genitals. The prosecutor asked if it was a "condom catheter" and Alvarez said he did not know.

Alvarez's testimony could provide key corroboration to the prosecutors' argument that Murray's actions demonstrated "an extreme deviation from the standard of care" by administering propofol without the proper equipment, and also concealing it and botching efforts to resuscitate the singer.

The 57-year-old Houston cardiologist has pleaded not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors began their case Tuesday with the first of what could be a star-studded lineup of witnesses. The first person to take the stand was Kenny Ortega, the director of Jackson's "This Is It" tour and movie.

Ortega testified that Jackson seemed unwell and not in good condition six days before he died and went home early from rehearsals at Ortega's suggestion.

Ortega said he was called to Jackson's home the next morning, where Murray told him not to try to be Jackson's doctor or psychiatrist. Murray suggested Jackson should not have been sent home because he was physically and emotionally fine, Ortega testified.

"The key to Kenny Ortega is really that the D.A.'s office wanted to start with some star power - the director of a huge hit movie. They wanted to show the public, they wanted to show the defense, that hey, people are lining up, stars are lining up, powerful people are lining up to testify against you, Dr. Murray," said ABC News legal analyst Dana Cole.

The prosecution also said records show that Murray was on the phone with someone for 11 minutes before he noticed Jackson not breathing and that it would take another 11 minutes before Murray called a security guard.

Murray's attorneys contend that he did not give Jackson anything that should have killed the singer.

The hearing is expected to last at least three weeks. Then, it will be up to Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor to determine if there is enough evidence for Murray to stand trial.

If Murray is convicted, he could face up to four years in prison and lose his medical license.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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