In general, sleep is vital for our overall health. It is during sleep when our body can recuperate. When we sleep we go through four different stages and the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase is most vital for brain function.
Michael Jackson had insomnia for quite some time. To address his sleeping problem, Dr. Conrad Murray gave him propofol infusions to help him sleep. He was on the sedative for 60 days, which ultimately lead to his death in June 25, 2009.
When Did Michael’s Sleeping Problems Start?
Contrary to what some people may think, Michael Jackson’s struggle with insomnia started way back in the 90s while he was on the HIStory tour.
Jackson’s long-time physician, Dr. Allan Metzger said that the king of pop was so hopped on adrenaline that it would take days before he slept. To manage this, he was prescribed with traditional sleep medication which seemed to have helped over the years. (Source: ABC7)
What Happened Before He Passed?
Jackson hired the best doctors whenever he was out of the town since Metzger was staying in Los Angeles. While on tour, the concert promoter AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad Murray to take care of Jackson.
Murray gave Jackson propofol infusions to help with his insomnia. This has never been done in medical history. According to reports, Jackson had been using this drug for 60 days. The abuse of this drug eventually lead to his untimely passing. (Source: CNN)
What is Propofol?
Propofol is a sedative that is commonly used to general anesthesia prior to major surgery. It is a white oily solution that does not dissolve in water. It is also known as milk of anesthesia because of it’s color.
Propofol lowers blood pressure and suppresses breathing. Which is why anesthesiologists closely monitor patients who have been given this medication. A Harvard anesthesiologist, Dr. Linda Aglio expresses how surprised she was to learn that after administering the drug, Jackson was left alone by his physician. “I won’t leave a patient unattended for a second, I was surprised that any doctor taking care of him would leave him alone” she says. (Source: Health Harvard)
Why was Propofol Dangerous?
Some would assume that anesthetics would help with Jackson’s sleeping disorder. Sadly, the propofol was the very reason he passed on quite unexpectedly.
The major problem with using an anesthetic like propofol as a sleeping treatment is that it actually disrupts normal sleeping cycle by eliminating the REM stage of sleep. According to Dr. Charles Czeisler, a Harvard Medical School sleep expert, Propofol tricks you into thinking you had genuine sleep. You feel completely refreshed. He also says that if the overdose of Propofol didn’t kill Jackson first, the lack of REM sleep would have. (Source: CNN)
What Happened to Dr. Conrad Murray?
Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served 2 years of his supposed 4-year sentence. It was discovered that he ordered 4 gallons of Propofol as a supply for Jackson while he was on tour. (Source: LA Times)
Murray denies the fact that he carelessly overdosed Jackson. He says “I did not agree with Michael on using such a powerful sedative for sleep. So what I told Michael is that we have to get you off that substance. However, I mean, to call it ideal or non-ideal, Michael Jackson is not a guy you can just say, ‘Stop it.'” (Source: ABC News)