2 more states might strip Michael Jackson's doctor of license

Jan 13 2011 - 6:09pm

LOS ANGELES -- A day after a Los Angeles County judge yanked Dr. Conrad Murray's medical license for his alleged role in Michael Jackson's death, officials in two other states said they were evaluating whether to do the same.

A spokeswoman for the medical board in Texas, where Murray runs a cardiac clinic, said the ruling by Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor "gives us the authority to do a similar action."

"We certainly have the option of suspending him," said Leigh Hopper, the board's public information officer. She said the agency was awaiting an official confirmation of the judge's ruling before deciding whether to proceed against the physician.

In Nevada, where Murray had a cardiology practice until going to work for Jackson, a medical board official said the agency normally "takes reciprocal action" when the medical board of another state strips a physician of his license.

But Murray's case is unique because he lost his license as a condition of bail set by a judge, rather than as the result of an investigation by the state medical board, said Edward Cousineau, deputy executive director of the Nevada Medical Board.

"We need to review our statutes and regulations to know if there are any grounds for suspension or disciplinary action," he said.

Pastor revoked the license at the request of the state medical board at the conclusion of a six-day hearing in which prosecutors presented evidence for their argument that Murray's substandard care had led to Jackson's death.

The judge said allowing the doctor to keep his license "would constitute an imminent danger to public safety" given testimony about Murray's conduct, which included administering the dangerous anesthetic propofol without proper monitoring.

Murray's licenses in all three states were already restricted by agreements he made last year not to use propofol or other heavy sedatives in his practice.

Lawyers for Murray are considering whether to appeal Pastor's decision, said Charles Peckham, the doctor's civil attorney.

"It's difficult to understand the reasoning the court had to adding this additional bond restriction," Peckham said.

Since "this one horrific event" -- Jackson's June 25, 2009, death -- "Dr. Murray has been saving lives in Nevada and Texas," he said.

He said that Murray is primarily concerned about his patients, but that the potential loss of income is also troubling, given the expenses of mounting a defense.

"The state of California is taking every action to try to make certain Dr. Murray has no resources to try to defend himself, and of course, that is of grave concern," Peckham said.

Murray has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter. His arraignment is set for Jan. 25.

 

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