Conrad Murray’s conviction of killing Michael Jackson will change medicine in Hollywood. Michael Jackson’s personal doctor received the maximum punishment in the pop singer’s death but not before a scolding from the judge for violating his Hippocratic oath and engaging in “money-for-medicine madness.”
Despite Judge Michael Pastor’s sharp rebuke of Dr. Conrad Murray, medical ethics and legal experts say the outcome is unlikely to dramatically change the culture of celebrity medicine.
There are doctors who will apply the same standard of care to their high-profile patients as the non-famous. Those starstruck will be more likely to cave to patients’ demands, overlook their bad habits and operate out of bounds.
“These doctors are ego-crazed and money dependent,” said Dr. Steven Miles of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Miles said it’s dangerous when a doctor enters into an exclusive relationship with a patient especially if the person is rich and famous. “It’s the kind of environment where the normal checks and balances are very difficult to apply,” he said. Jackson’s death and other recent celebrity drug-related deaths have raised questions about how far some doctors will go to cater to their clients. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a monthlong trial. On Tuesday, he was handed the maximum four years behind bars. He will likely only serve two years in county jail because of a recent change in state law.
Jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol. Murray told police he gave the drug nightly to help the singer cope with insomnia as he attempted a comeback tour. Propofol is not approved as a sleep aid and is supposed to be used in the hospital by a trained professional.
What do you think? Do you think Hollywood doctors will use caution now when dispensing pills?