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It seems that Michael Jackson will never be able to rest in peace. The King of Pop died with his personal physician Conrad Murray by his side in 2009; Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011. Now, the doctor who administered Jackson a lethal dose of the sedative propofol has completed his prison sentence. But rather than move on, Murray is determined to clear his own name -- by spilling Michael Jackson's most intimate secrets to the press.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, published on Sunday, Murray describes his relationship with Jackson as being more like family than doctor and patient. He elaborated on this closeness with a shocking bit of TMI.
"You want to know how close Michael and I were? I held his penis every night," Murray told the reporter. "I had to put a condom catheter on him because Michael dripped urine. He had a loss of sensation and was incontinent."
Let's pause here for a moment and discuss how creepy this quote is. Imagine the most embarrassing medical procedure you've ever had. Now imagine that the doctor went to the press and used it as evidence that you two were "really close." Shudder.
If that quote has you questioning Conrad Murray's ethics, then the rest of the interview won't exactly put your mind at ease. Now that his manslaughter trial and the more recent wrongful-death trial are over, Murray is telling the public that Jackson was responsible for his own death.
"I believe he woke up, got hold of his own stash of propofol and injected himself. He did it too quickly and went into cardiac arrest," said Murray, who swore he gave Jackson only a "miniscule" amount of the sedative, and was not aware that the singer had already taken other anti-anxiety drugs earlier in the evening.
This does not excuse the fact that Jackson should never have been taking propofol as a sleep aid in the first place. It's not a sleeping pill; it's a powerfully strong surgical anesthetic. And Dr. Murray knows this.
"I would never have recommended propofol to Michael," he told the Daily Mail. But when I got there he was on it -- he called it 'milk' -- and he needed to get off it. I wanted to help my friend."
Yes, he continued to give him an extremely dangerous drug, in the interest of weaning him off of it. Elsewhere in the interview, Murray explained that he had no choice, because Jackson threatened to get it elsewhere, and "Michael wasn’t the kind of man you can say no to."
Maybe Murray really did love Jackson like a "brother," as he claims; if so, it clouded his judgement considerably, to the point where he was acting against his patient's best interests. An ethical doctor might have realized this and stepped away from Jackson. But for whatever reason -- the money, the friendship, the closeness to fame -- Murray did not.
The real tragedy in this interview is that it echoes everything else we know about Jackson's messed-up relationships with other human beings. Raised by an abusive father, Jackson was permanently damaged in his ability to relate to people. He did not understand appropriate boundaries; for example, he encouraged strange children to sleep in his bed, which is sincerely troubling (regardless of whether the child molestation allegations are true). He was perpetually worried that other people would use him for his money and fame, and yet he was a master manipulator himself. Jackson's music crossed boundaries and connected to everyone; but as a person, Michael didn't even know where to start.
We can see this in the behavior of everyone close to him following his death. It's bad enough that the Jackson family is in a perpetual battle over his money, his children and his name. But the people Michael chose himself -- including his personal physician -- are also failing to keep his secrets and protect his legacy. Only Jackson's children seem interested in keeping the positive memories of their father alive. It's a sad state of affairs. Too bad Conrad Murray is determined to make it worse.