Federal authorities say Michael Jackson' cardiologist, Dr. Conrad Murray, is the only doctor they are looking at, as the investigation continues into the singer' potential wrongful death. While authorities have issued subpoenas on numerous doctors who have treated Jackson over the years, Dr. Murray was at Jackson' home on the day he died. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Murray gave Jackson the drug Propofol (commonly known by the brand name Diprivan) within twenty four hours of Jackson' death and some suspect this may have caused his death. Propofol is a potentially dangerous anesthetic that is used in hospital for the induction of general anesthesia. Dr. Murray was allegedly providing Jackson the drug as a sleep aid. It is widely accepted in the medical community this drug should only be given in a hospital setting and should never be given as a sleep aid.
Although Dr. Murray' reported practice of treating Jackson with Propofol was outside the standard of care (ie., medical malpractice), the question of whether the drug caused or contributed to Jackson' death will likely be a hotly contested matter. After all, even if Dr. Murray' behavior is indefensible, prosecutors must still prove the drug caused or contributed to Jackson' death if they seek to demonstrate Dr. Murray is responsible for Jackson' death. Likewise, in a civil wrongful death suit based on medical malpractice, simply proving Dr. Murray was negligent (ie., that he "deviated from the standard of care") is insufficient. Jackson' Estate would need to prove Dr. Murray' negligence caused or contributed in Jackson' death. That is, but for the drug, Jackson would not have died.
Based on the intense speculation surrounding the cause of Jackson' death, Dr. Murray and the rest of the world are anxiously awaiting the results of Jackson' autopsy report. The autopsy results were scheduled to be released this week. However, it now appears the results will not be made available until next week. Many legal analysts are wondering whether the delay in releasing the autopsy results is based on the desire of authorities to file charges against Dr. Murray at the same time the report released.