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Medical Board Explains 3-Year Delay in Revoking Conrad Murray License After Michael Jackson Death

Medical Board Explains 3-Year Delay in Revoking Conrad Murray License After Michael Jackson Death

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micchael jackson, conrad murray, william heisel, reporting on health

When I saw that the Medical Board of California had

finally made a move to revoke Dr. Conrad Murray's license following the death in June 2009 of Michael Jackson, I asked the board's Director of Public Affairs, Dan Wood, what took so long. His response was interesting enough to merit a post. Here's what he had to say:

First of all, the Medical Board of California has, as part of its mission, the obligation to "protect health care consumers." When Dr. Murray appeared for arraignment in court on February 8, 2010, the Honorable Judge Keith Schwartz heard a motion and recommendation from our agency urging restrictions be placed on Dr. Murray's practice of medicine.  Judge Schwartz heard the motion and arguments and made the following ruling as written in court documents and available on our website www.mbc.ca.gov:

The court makes the following medical practice restrictions:  The defendant (Dr. Conrad Murray) may not use any anesthetic agent, specifically propofol, no prescribe it, and do not administer any other heavy sedative medications that should generally be administered by any anesthesiologist. The defendant may not sedate people personally. This order is to cover the state of California, Texas, Nevada, Hawaii and anywhere else the defendant may be currently licensed in the United States. 

At our recommendation to the court, the public was being protected as Dr. Murray pursued his right to due process and investigators pursued evidence for the case against him.

On January 11, 2011 after numerous hearings and denial of a motion to dismiss, the court determined there was enough evidence to pursue increased charges against Dr. Murray. The court then ordered his bail increased to $300,000 and on top of the standing order prohibiting him from administering anesthetics, issued the following additional restrictions.

Dr. Murray is to immediately cease and desist from practicing medicine in the state of California.  His privilege and right to practice medicine in this state is suspended by this court. 

The judge also gave Dr. Murray and his counsel 24 hours to notify the Medical Board of California of the ruling and 48 hours to provide proof of notification to the court. The notification was made via a 20 page fax from Dr. Murray's counsel to the Medical Board of California.   Again, health care consumers were protected as the investigation and case progressed. 

At the same time, the Medical Board's investigation continued, and it was learned that the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners had issued a reprimand because Dr. Murray was in arrears on court order child support.  This was a violation of California Business and Professions' Code sections 141(a), 2234 and 2305.  Bearing in mind that Dr. Murray was under court order to "cease and desist" from the practice of medicine, this was an additional mark against Dr. Murray as the Medical Board of California continued to amass documentation for future actions against Dr. Murray and his license to practice medicine.

On November 7, 2011 Dr. Murray was found guilty of one count of involuntary manslaughter. At the time of the guilty verdict, Dr. Murray was remanded into custody and bail was revoked.  On November 29, 2011 he was sentenced to the maximum term, allowable under the law, of four years in the Los Angeles County jail. This triggered an automatic suspension of his California license to practice medicine.

At all times from arrest to conviction and sentencing, Dr. Murray's right to practice medicine was either restricted or suspended, and health care consumers were being protected.  Had the court not agreed to our recommendations for restriction and suspension, the Medical Board of California would have swiftly pursued such restrictions on its own.  Since the court did rule in favor of the motion to restrict as we recommended, the Medical Board of California was able pursue its case against Dr. Murray without need for additional resources and personnel that would have jeopardized other investigations and cases the medical board was invested in.  This allowed maximum protection of health care consumers in accordance with our mission.  Speeding up the revocation case against Dr. Murray would have accomplished nothing beyond the court orders Dr. Murray was already under and in fact may have endangered consumers by redirecting resources away from other cases. 

I remind you that the Medical Board of California's maximum discipline for a physician or surgeon is the revocation of his or her license.  Since this was effectively done by the court a rush to accomplish the same result would not have been in the best interest of health care consumer of which we are charged with protecting. 

I trust this clears up the matter of why it has taken this amount of time to file an accusation to revoke Dr. Murray's license to practice medicine in the state of California.  To put it in simple terms, once a door is closed and locked no matter who closed and locked it, to rush to repeat the action is redundant.  Basically our action now will be the equivalent of placing a sign on the door saying "This door is now closed and locked officially."

Related Posts:

Calif. Medical Board Finally Moves to Revoke Conrad Murray's License After Michael Jackson Death

Photo credit: lwpkommunikacio via Flickr

 

Comments

Picture of Christopher Farnsworth

Shorter Dan Wood:

"The court did our job so we didn't have to."

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Physicians take a solemn oath to first do no harm. This trial has been a slap on the wrist with a doctor who killed his patient, starting with no formal arrest, handcuffs and no mugshot February 8, 2010 when Murray was formally charged. Murray was undercharged with involuntary manslaughter. As time went on and deadlines had passed the world saw that Murray should have been charged 2nd degree murder for his months of gross negligence and deviations from standard of care. And let's not forget not calling 911 in a timely matter, not performing cpr correctly and withholding information and evidence from emergency medical personnel that were trying to save Michael Jackson's life.

The Attorney General of California requested that Murray's license be "suspended" on February 8, 2010. Judge Schwartz did not honor this request. As part of his bail terms, he had ordered him not to administer heavy sedatives or anesthetics. Because of this, Judge Pastor who later got the Murray case, said the law did not allow him to alter Murray's bail terms unless there was a change in circumstances. February 8 is when the medical board could have taken further action to ensure immediate suspension. ONE year later, after the preliminary hearing in January 2011, Judge Pastor suspended his license. 1.5 years after Murray took his patients life, did he have his license suspended in California.

The prosecution at preliminary hearing requested that his bail be increased to $300,000. This was denied and bail remained at $75,000. $75,000 for taking a life that should have been 2nd degree murder.

CONRAD MURRAY - killed Michael Jackson - $75,000 bail
ROBERT RIZZO, City Manager, City of Bell - $2 million bail
JEFF JOSEPH, Organica, medical marijuana distributor - $520,000 bail

It is clear in the city of Los Angeles under the corrupt Steve Cooley that money comes before life.

Only takes a little Google searching to find that the California Medical Board has disciplinary problems and not ranked high in our nation. And when Schwarzenegger was Governor, he was taking steps to make improvements.

Michael Jackson's life was cut short and his children are left with no father, due to a doctor that made negligent and reckless decisions everyday for months. We can only hope that Michael Jackson's life will not be in vain and doctors will begin to pay for their actions. And the medical board will take steps for faster and appropriate disciplinary action.

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