Conrad Murray, THE MAN WHO KILLED MICHAEL JACKSON. Part 4. The Shock of Versed
This post took longer than I expected though all it was supposed to do was provide the impressions of patients who were subjected to the administration of Versed [Midazolam] on just one occasion during surgery or some unpleasant diagnostic procedure.
These accounts are important because for the two months of his “treatment” of Michael Jackson Conrad Murray chose to give him Versed not just once, but on a regular basis. In the last three days he said (to the police) that he even increased the dosage of Versed as he was planning to use it and Lorazepam to “wean off” Michael of Propofol.
Prior to those last days Michael was given the same two drugs, only in lesser amounts.
Michael fought them, was reluctant to take them as they did not work and were giving him a hangover (according to Murray), but Murray insisted and Michael complied.
The problem I am facing now is not how to convince you of the adverse effects of Versed – this will become clear to you even from the first accounts of the Versed sufferers. The problem is in deciding whether Murray wanted to do Michael intentional harm or whether he gave him the drug not knowing of its adverse effects.
The conclusion I’m more or less coming to now is that as usual Murray was most probably unaware of what he was doing – except that Michael complained to him about Versed and Lorazepam but Murray totally disregarded it thinking that Michael had a dependence on Propofol and would say anything in his desire to get his “milk”.
The reason why I think that Murray was simply his usual ignorant self is because he openly spoke to the police about using Versed and on a regular basis too. If he had known how nasty the drug is he would probably have refrained from trumpeting about it. About Propofol he did know and kept silence, so the same rule must be applying here too.
The second reason why I think he doesn’t know a thing about Versed is that even professional anesthetists are clueless as to the adverse effects of this drug – so if they don’t know it how can we expect anything different from Conrad Murray?
WHAT COULD BRING ABOUT THOSE SYMPTOMS?
Versed gets an unusually high number of complaints (more than 1000 extremely negative reports are found on the Ask-a-patient and Versed busters websites) and this in spite of the fact that those patients were given Versed on just one or probably two occasions.
Though the drug is extremely addictive and produces awful withdrawal symptoms medical sites provide scarce information about it. This is probably because Versed is never administered on a regular basis and mostly comes in the injection form which is provided in hospital setting only and on the rare occasions when people undergo surgery or some unpleasant diagnostic procedures.
Medical sites don’t even list this drug as an addictive one though its withdrawal symptoms are much more severe than Propofol (which practically has none) or Lorazepam (which forms an addiction very quickly).
Since Versed is administered only occasionally and is regarded as a simple “benzo” few medical care providers trace its long-term effects. If they did they would know that its adverse effects are severe, can last for years and include memory loss, tremor, shaking as if from freezing, unusual fatigue and lethargy, insomnia, loss of coordination, vertigo and many other things that reminded me of the symptoms Michael was increasingly displaying during the two months while he was under Murray’s “care”.
Now everyone shifts all the blame to Propofol, but Propofol is not known to produce any of the above symptoms and Dr. Shafer testified that trembling and freezing which were dogging Michael for weeks prior to his death are absolutely untypical for Propofol:
Question: During his conversation with Nurse Cherilyn Lee in April 2009, Lee explained these side effects to MJ. On June 19 and 20 when Michael was sick at the rehearsals, he called Cherilyn Lee. He asked her why half of his body was cold and the other half was warm. He wondered what was happening to him.
Dr. Shafer: That wouldn’t be a side effect of propofol. I don’t know what makes half your body warm, and half cold, but propofol doesn’t do that. It could be that he simply had a virus. There are some symptoms of withdrawal from sedatives. Withdrawal from propofol has not been described, and perhaps some odd problem with temperature regulation is part of propofol withdrawal. That is speculation on my part, because only Michael Jackson received propofol every night for 2 months. However, we certainly see issues with temperature regulation during withdrawal from opioids.
“Side effects” of propofol are things like low blood pressure and decreased breathing. Patients are usually asleep, and thus blissfully ignorant of these side effects. You can be confident that his blood pressure and breathing both decreased when he got propofol previously, because that happens with everybody. Propofol has very few “side effects” that are unpleasant to the awake patient. There is some drowsiness after awakening up from propofol, but that is expected. Other than that, there isn’t much in the way of side effects that the awake patient will experience.
People like Ortega and the AEG bosses tended to explain those strange Michael’s symptoms by the Demerol withdrawal and even Dr. Shafer mentioned it as a possibility. The other possibility was that it could be a withdrawal from sedatives (like Versed).
Murray’s police interview has several exceptionally interesting episodes which say that “the production team” was in constant interaction with Murray complaining to him about Demerol and Michael’s visits to Klein. By the way this alone shows that Frank Dileo, Ortega and the AEG people were constantly interfering with the medical “care” Murray was providing to Michael.
In fact Murray even discloses to us that due to Michael’s very poor eye-sight (Oh, my God – he had that too) Murray arranged a consultation with an eye specialist and the production team agreed that it should be done which makes us realize that Michael’s doctor was even seeking consent of the producers on what he could and could not do.
How is it possible to talk of any Murray’s independence in these circumstances?
Dr. Murray: I was not aware of any other medications that he was taking, but I heard that he was seeing a Dr. Klein three times a week in Beverly Hills. And he never disclosed that to me.
Mr. Chernoff: You heard from who?
Dr. Murray: His staff, like Frank Dileo, Kenny Ortega. They would be aware, working on his production team, that he was seeing him three times a week.
… His production team had — had said to me recently that his worst days on the set is when he had gone to Dr. Klein’s office, which is about three times a week; and when he came back, he was basically wasted and required at least 24 hours for recovery.
Dr. Murray: His eyesight was very, very bad. So I did figure out he could be legally blind. His eyes was also very red….I encouraged him to have the eye examination. That examination was hopefully scheduled for last Monday [June 22th].
Detective Martinez: So he had agreed to it?
Dr. Murray: He agreed to do it. But it never happened. I still have e-mail from the doctor asking me to call and reschedule it. And one thing or the other, it led to that being put off. But his team, his production team, agreed that, you know, it’s something that he should have done. So I was trying to find out issues with Mr. Jackson and trying to address them in a gradual way overall to help him. And that was one of the things I discovered. So that medication is a surprise.
Detective martinez: Did you ever – did you ever give him Demerol?
Dr. Murray: No.
Detective martinez: Okay.
Detective smith: We didn’t find any.
Detective martinez: Yeah, we didn’t find any. I don’t know how that came up.
The policemen don’t know how that came up? See the above please and the people who were arranging in the media all that hue and cry over Michael’s alleged addiction to Demerol while in reality he didn’t have any, at least in the year 2009. No Demerol was found in his home and no trace of it was in his body.
Demerol was not even a player at the time when Michael was trembling and obsessing on June 19th as those symptoms were displayed outside the time frame when one could expect any withdrawal from this drug.
But if Propofol and Demerol were not doing this to Michael then what could produce those strange symptoms when Michael was freezing with cold in the midst of summer?
The explanation was given by Dr. Czeisler, the expert who recently testified at the AEG trial. He said that the freezing effect was due to a huge damage to Michael’s brain done by the lack of biological sleep. Propofol does not produce biological sleep necessary for the brain to recover its functions, so the loss of body temperature resulted from the increasing brain damage brought about by prolonged sleep deprivation. A drop in the body temperature is a typical symptom displayed by sleep-deprived mice just prior to death.
Though being a very sad explanation it satisfied us for a time being, however after the shock of learning about Versed I see that it is absolutely not the only explanation possible.
Versed is a very solid alternative reason for creating exactly the same picture as it will be clear from the accounts of people who were severely damaged by this drug.
Let me remind you that the usual dose of Versed is between 4-8 ml at the most and to be given just once, while Conrad Murray ordered (in April, May and June) 60 vials of Versed altogether making 120ml and used it for Michael in the amounts we can only guess at.
On the night of June 24/25th alone Murray said he injected 4ml of it. But most of Versed sufferers received that much or even less of Versed and still feel they are crippled for life, so what could be expected of a continuous administration of a drug like that?
INTRODUCTION TO VERSED
The information about Versed (Midazolam) knocked me off my feet altogether.
On the face of it things didn’t look that bad as almost every medical care provider said the drug is okay and is the routine part of anesthesia. Even the nurse who commented on Murray’s case on Trials and Tribulations site mentioned Versed as part of her standard procedure for general anesthesia:
- When I induce for general anesthesia with Fentanyl, Versed, and Propofol….
The first thing I wondered about was why Versed is part of anesthesia, why they need the three of them together and why they can’t limit themselves to Propofol only?
What I’ve found is this:
- Versed is used as a pre-operative drug that reduces anxiety before surgery and produces total amnesia of the procedure that follows,
- Propofol sends a person into sleep but does not save from the pain
- Fentanyl deals with the pain as it is a powerful opiate painkiller.
All three are given in case of a painful surgery according to the existing protocol, so Murray could easily think that all he needed to do was take away the painkiller as an unnecessary component and leave the other two intact. Possible? Possible.
The other common way of using Versed is the so-called “conscious sedation” when Propofol is taken out of the equation as a sleep agent, and the patient gets only Versed and Fentanyl staying awake and conscious throughout the procedure. This is how I learned that Versed is meant not only to beat a patient’s anxiety but to keep him awake too – so it is not meant for treatment of insomnia at all, though it produces some drowsiness and in some countries its milder pill form may be prescribed for this purpose (not in the US). This is when a heavy addiction to it actually forms.
And the third variant is when Versed is used simply on its own. This is when it does not help the pain (it isn’t a painkiller) and doesn’t help to sleep (it makes the patient dizzy and paralyses his will). The only goal it is used for on these occasions is producing amnesia of the procedure, so even if the patient screamed with pain for 20 minutes, he/she will remember none of it when the effect of Versed wears off.
Yes, though it does sound like a torture and though Versed does look like a drug of abuse, this is a typical situation and this makes many Versed sufferers extremely resentful of it. Here is a sample from the Versed Busters website:
- What got me started on this subject was a few years ago my wife broke her Femur and was in the emergency room waiting to get it operated on. They asked me to wait outside the room because they wanted to set it before the operation. They gave her Versed and the screaming was horrible. I was told she would not remember and she didn’t but I do know how she suffered. I feel that when this drug is used for its amnesia effect it’s abuse. I spoke to the surgeon on a follow up visit and asked him about what had happened, his remark was she does not remember so what.
- Apparently I screamed for 20 minutes during my endoscopy after receiving Versed for twilight sleep sedation. I agreed to twilight sedation and Versed was given for my endoscopy/colonoscopy 2 days ago. I do not remember any of the procedure which is a blessing. However when mentioning my excruciating sore throat today to my son, who was with me, he said I screamed for 20 mins during the endoscopy – everyone in the surg center including people in the waiting room could hear me. The GI doc said I had a “rare reaction” to the med. He called it a paradoxical reaction to the Versed. I will make sure I am never given Versed again.
However Michael was (hopefully) not in pain so Murray was injecting Versed with a different goal. Initially it was to enhance the effect of Propofol (it enhances it by 40%) and later on he was planning to replace Propofol with Versed and Lorazepam as sole agents to produce “sleep”.
Whether sleep with Versed alone was possible I doubt very much unless Murray was giving Michael gigantic dozes which knocked him off altogether. Generally Versed is not used for sleep though some people do get unconscious after it. Its general idea is to keep people awake as will be clear from this description from an anesthesia site:
MIDAZOLAM (Brand name VERSED). Midazolam is a short-acting anxiety-reducing drug of the Valium or benzodiazepine class. Midazolam is commonly injected as the first drug to begin an anesthetic, because it gives patients a sense of calm, and often gives them amnesia for a period of minutes afterward. Midazolam is a common drug given during sedation for colonoscopy procedures, because most patients have no awareness during the procedure, even though they are usually awake.
If taken in gigantic doses it of course produces sleep – together with no less gigantic addiction to it which is comparable only to that of narcotics. Here are the accounts of the Versed sufferers in this respect:
Anonymous said about his severe insomnia case…
- Retrograde amnesia is common with this drug, so take with caution if you get an actual prescription for it. They’re rare. I got lucky. I liked Versed a lot, but over time I got a tolerance, and refused to keep upping the dosage, and just tapered off. Again, be careful taking this drug – NEVER drive or operate heavy machinery, or do dangerous things like climbing ladders on this medication. And please DO NOT “stay up through the ‘high'” because you’ll just end up taking more, and more, then before you realize it, you’ve taken 75mg through the course of a night (speaking of recreational benzo users, not myself) . NOT worth it. Also, dependence/tolerance/addiction are a HUGE concern for this particular benzo. Traditional benzos are better for anxiety/panic attacks anyway.
- I want to stress that the ONLY reason I posted the amounts of midazolam that I IV’ed is to emphasize how quickly tolerance can rise and just how dangerous it can be! I was playing with my life, I certainly would not suggest that others “walk a razor between life and death” as I’m lucky I didn’t end up dead.
So this beautiful drug was administered to Michael by Murray in unknown amounts in combination with Lorazepam though none of them Michael ever wanted.
He was against benzodiazepines as a class as previously he had some problems with Xanax and Ambien (same group) and they did not help him with his insomnia anyway.
MICHAEL’S NO TO BENZOS
When Michael was filling in a form for Nurse Lee he encircled Ativan (Lorazepam) as a medication that was given to him like 12 years before that and he didn’t like it as it did not work. He made it clear to Nurse Lee that he’d rather stay away from it and other benzodiazepines like Ambien and Xanax from which he had moved on.
Here is an excerpt from Nurse Lee’s testimony at the AEG trial on August 28, 2013.
Ms. Cahan for AEG and Nurse Lee are discussing the 200 questions Michael had to answer before she started to give him the Myers’ cocktails of vitamins and other natural ingredients for energy and sleep. She successfully treated Michael from February to April 19th while Murray was already quietly building up his stock of Propofol and other medications.
They discuss Michael’s negative attitude towards benzodiazepines:
Nurse Lee: “past history, past history greater than 12 years.”
Ms. Cahan: Okay. Does that mean that he was taking it for more than 12 years, or the last time he took it was that —
A. It was 12 years ago.
Q. And I see below that “Ambien” is circled, as well.
Q. And then it says “past history” with a question mark. What does that signify, if you can recall?
A. He just said past history, it’s something he didn’t remember, it didn’t work for him.
Q. Okay. So he had taken it at some point, but not for any sustained period of time?
Q. And did he tell you about any other prescription medications he had taken in response to this list and series of questions?
Ms. Chang. Well, your honor, “Ativan” is circled, also.
Ms. Cahan. I’m sorry. I see — I see that now, on that same line as xanax.
Q. So did he tell you he had also taken — at some point, taken Ativan?
Q. Thank you, Ms. Chang. So other than xanax, Ativan and Ambien, did Mr. Jackson disclose to you in response to these questions that he had ever taken any other prescription drugs or the other substances listed here?
A. No, not while we were going through the history here, no.
Q. Are xanax and Ativan benzodiazepines? I see there’s a little parentheses there on the line above them being — do you see where it says “agonist modulator of gaba receptor”?
A. Yes, I do see that.
Q. Does that mean that those are examples — that those drugs are benzodiazepines?
A. They would be in that family because they’re under that heading.
Q. Okay. And when Mr. Jackson told you that he had taken xanax and Ativan more than 12 years ago, did he tell you why he had been taking them at the time, for what medical concern?
Ms. Chang. Your honor, just misstatement of the record. I’m sure it was unintentional. But the 12 years is actually pointing to the xanax and not the Ativan.
Ms. Cahan. I’m sorry. That was my mistake.
Q. Did he tell you that he had taken Ativan more recently than in the past 12 years?
Q. Okay. So when he said more than 12 years ago, was he talking about both xanax and Ativan, or Ativan, or one or the other?
A. He was talking about both. I know I had the arrow there, but it was under that heading, he meant both.
Q. And Mr. Jackson, as of February 1st, 2009, denied taking any medications other than those three at any time?
Q. And Mr. Jackson didn’t tell you at that time that he had ever taken demerol or meperidine?
Ms. Chang. Well, objection, your honor. She said this form is only for the natural substitute for that, and it’s not listed on this page.
Court. Did you ask him specifically about demerol?
A. Did I — no, it’s not on this form here.
Demerol was not on the form with 200 questions answered by Michael, so it is no surprise he didn’t encircle it. But Ativan and other benzodiazepines were there and he did encircle them as the medications he was trying to avoid. This is why he was fighting Murray over them and agreed to them only with much reluctance.
We also remember that during the telephone conversation in Las Vegas on April 5, 2009 Murray was pressing on Michael Lorazepam and Restoril but Michael was refusing them. Let me remind you of that episode from the police interview already mentioned in part 2:
Dr. Murray: I said, “Well, don’t you have any sleeping pill that I gave you in the past that you can use as needed?” Like – like Lorazepam or Restoril, which I had given to him before, pill form.
He said, “They don’t work.” I said, “Did you try them?” he said, “Yes, Dr. Conrad. Nothing works. You know, I’ve had pills from the other doctors in Beverly Hills, and I’ve had medicine from Dr. Klein, who says he gave me the strongest medication. And I have medicine from Dr. Metzer, M-E-T-Z-E-R. They all don’t work.”
Further on Murray explains to the policemen why and how two of the three benzodiazepines came into play (however he never explains why he began using Versed).
Murray says that Valium (Diazepam) came into the picture as an effort to “get him off the milk”. This is a lie as in reality it was prescribed by him on the day of the crisis meeting (June 20th) and was most probably forced on Michael to make him cope with the mounting pressures from AEG. By the time of his death on June 24/25th Michael had taken only 3 pills of Valium.
Here is an excerpt about these benzos from the police interview:
Detective Martinez: Diazepam?
Dr. Murray: Yes. I recently prescribed that for him, very first time.
Detective Martinez: Okay.
Mr. Chernoff: Valium.
Dr. Murray: Valium, which is valium.
Detective Martinez: Right.
Dr. Murray: And that again was one of the efforts to try to get him off the milk.
Detective Martinez: Lorazepam?
Dr. Murray: That’s IV. That’s the oral form of the IV Ativan, the same thing I’ve given him.
Detective Martinez: Oral form.
Dr. Murray: If the — if the pill does not work, because when you take a medicine by mouth, about 70 to 80 percent becomes available in the bloodstream because of absorption.
Detective Martinez: You say it’s the oral form of —
Dr. Murray: Of the Lorazepam. Remember that? Ativan, and it was given to him.
Detective Martinez: Oh, yeah, right. Ativan.
Dr. Murray: yeah. So the fact that he — it wasn’t working orally, I was wondering whether or not to give it to him IV. He’ll have a better concentration of that, and that help him to sleep. So that’s why that came into play.
So Lorezepam by IV came into play because the pills were not working and Murray hoped that the IV injection would do the job.
As we know later in the interview Murray explained that in the last three days of Michael’s life Murray was trying to make him take only Lorezapam and Versed. This episode is extremely important and is actually the only one we have, so let’s read it carefully though we have read it a hundred times before:
Dr. Murray: I said, “Well, I think we need to try lesser agents that is not as — as Propofol — to help you and try to see if we can wean it away.” So I started three days before. It was 72 hours before. I saw him every night. That’s when I started to use more the Lorazepam and Versed.
Detective martinez: Before that night, had he used them before, or is that was the first time that you introduced it to him?
Dr. Murray: No
Detective Martinez: Okay
Dr. Murray: I introduced it to him about three nights or so before. Now, what was the –
Mr. Chernoff: Well, I think the detective is asking before those three nights, had he ever used the Versed.
Dr. Murray: Yes. But not where that would be the sole agents.
Detective Martinez: okay.
Dr. Murray: Trying to —
Detective Martinez: so he’d use them in combination – and lesser amounts.
Dr. Murray: Lesser amounts.
Detective Martinez: And you’re trying to bring down the propofol and–
Dr. Murray: And get him off.
Detective Martinez: Right. And so you gave him —
Detective Smith: — Lorazepam and —
Dr. Murray: And — Lorazepam and the Midazolam,which is the Versed and the Ativan. Okay?
Detective Martinez: And he knows — he agreed for you to do this.
Dr. Murray: Reluctantly.
Detective Martinez: Okay.
Dr. Murray: Reluctantly. He fought me on it, and he said, “you know, I mean would it work the same way, because I” – but that was showing me some dependency here. “Would I be able to sleep?”
I said, “Well, you know, clearly it is not as strong an agent. But if we can help you to sleep more naturally and then eventually you can be on your own, milk and cookies and all the different things that is nice and comforting before you go to bed, that would be better for you, Michael.” And he said, “Well, I really want to – but I really want to sleep.
Are you sure it’s going to make me sleep?” I said, “I cannot tell you with certainty that it will make you sleep, but I’d like you to try.”
I never identified to him that I believed at that time he may — he was showing dependency or that he may have been drug seeking, because I was trying to form a different policy with him so he can transfer confidence from that agent to something lesser. So I gave him the Versed the third night. I gave him Versed, and I gave him Ativan, and I gave him a lower dose of the injection of the — of the Propofol milk I – at a slower dip rate.
And except for some interruptions in sleep, I was able to get him to sleep for a reasonable time. But he wanted to go all the way again till about noon, you know, very long hours of sleep, which again was not ideal, but that’s what he wanted, because the other doctors working with him gave him 15 to 18 hours. So that was night 1. Reduce — reduce propofol, starting more Lorazepam and Versed.
Let us stop for a second and try to sort out what Murray is talking about. Night 1 was the night prior to the June 23rd rehearsal and according to Murray he reduced Propofol that night, and started more Lorazepam and Versed. At one moment Murray even discloses to us that the dip (drip?) rate of Propofol on that night was slower.
So the recipe for night No.1 was a slower drip of Propol + a little more of Lorazepam and Versed.
The quantities we don’t know but we do get a definite impression that Murray gave Michael a drip of Propofol that night.
Let us go on:
Dr. Murray: On the second night, which was the night before he died, no milk was given. I thought we were really onto something then. He got the Lorazepam and the Versed only. He seemed to have responded more physiological to that. He was not groggy when he woke up. If he got up in the middle of the night, he’d wake up very quickly. But he got some sleep.
He only told me that he felt a little bit more of a hangover during the day, but I think that that was subjective. I think that he was his telling me “I tried it your way, but I really don’t like it. I want Diprivan.” so I said, “but you slept pretty well last night, Michael. And this is day number 2. So let’s continue to try the Lorazepam and the Ativan.” (sic) And I — I started off that night to do the Lorazepam and the Ativan (sic).
Detective martinez: And that’s night number 3.
Dr. Murray: Yes.
The story of the second night says there were Lorazepam and Versed only and no Propofol. After that combination Michael “was not groggy when he woke up” which suggests that previously he had woken up groggy, probably even on June 23rd.
But after the second night also Michael felt “more of a hangover during the day”. This way Michael was trying to say to Murray that he didn’t like it and on June 24th he was indeed much more lethargic than before. We can be absolutely sure that Murray didn’t tell us the whole truth about the way Michael felt that day – it was not in Murray’s interests to say that the mix of sedatives hardly worked and only dumbed Michael. This is when he probably administered him ephedrine (to brace him up) the traces of which were later found in Michael’s urine.
The third night (when Michael died) Murray again started with Lorazepam (Ativan) and Midazolam (Versed). This time it did not work and was followed by a drip of Propofol again. The result of it we know.
The story about the third night is absolutely false – and not only because Murray lied about the Propofol drip he gave him that night, but because the amount of Lorazepam found in Michael’s body absolutely didn’tcorrespond to what Murray said about it – it was much higher and by some estimations was no less than 17mg. Dr. Shafer commented on it as follows:
- He said he gave just 4 milligrams of lorazepam. We know from the blood and urine levels that he gave much more than that. We know quite a bit about what happened that night. Even without the trial Murray’s statement to the police investigators can be rejected outright.
What is really surprising is that the amount of Midazolam (Versed) in the autopsy did not correspond to Murray’s words either – only it was the opposite case and was much lower than Murray said.
Why he said it was 4 mg though it must have been much less still begs understanding, but for us the only important thing is that Murray thinks that 4mg of Versed is okay, otherwise he would not be so boldly speaking about it.
Let us listen now to those who were given the same 4mg (or even less) of Versed and are eager to share their impressions of the experience.
THE SHOCK OF VERSED
My 18-year-old daughter was given Versed yesterday, along with Decadron and Valium, to manage the extraction of her 4 wisdom teeth.
30 mins. after the procedure, she awoke completely hysterical — uncontrollable crying and screaming/yelling. This continued for four hours. She then became suicidal — she scratched her wrists completely raw and went stumbling out of the house with scissors in her hands (which we fortunately were able to remove). She stumbled around the neighbourhood for an hour trying to run in front of moving cars (with us following on foot and by car) and returned home to collapse. She then became exceptionally angry and would not allow anyone near her or touching her. She refused to allow us to take her to hospital emergency.
The recommendation of our family doctor was that we either monitor her “day and night” for 24 hours or call the police to come with a straighjacket and admit her to a psychiatric facility. We chose to monitor her due to the potential trauma of option B. Following all of the above, she fell asleep for an hour.
On awaking, she had no memory of what had taken place for the entire day. No memory of having clawed herself, no memory of being at the dentist, etc. While the hysteria had subsided, she was exceptionally emotional and continues to be this way 24 hours later.
I spent considerable time today researching the adverse reactions of this incredibly nasty drug. I personally think it should be banned. It is close to being criminal that it would be administered to a child with no warnings to the parents or patient about the potential adverse reaction. I am appalled but want to thank you and others who have taken time to share their stories and to shed light on such a vile drug.
I was given this drug during foot surgery in an ambulatory surgical suite. Surgery was at 2:00 p.m., but I was unable to leave until 9:00 p.m. I woke up screaming, fighting, trying to jump off the gurney. I was going in and out–sometimes aware–sometimes not. I remember trying to punch out a nurse, trying to bite someone, etc. When I finally became somewhat rational, I had been tied to a chair; my elbow was skinned, etc. The effects continued for about 10 days, headaches, dizziness, disorientation. This is absolutely the worst drug I have ever encountered. If the goal was a speedy recovery, it had the opposite effect—I needed their attention for hours!
I am a strong woman and Versed reduced me to a paranoid maniac as well. I can tell you this. The first 2 months were the absolute worst. I was so freaked out I could barely hold a coherent thought, couldn’t perform my job, couldn’t sleep and wanted to kill myself and others. The mania has slowly subsided. It is almost a year now and while I am still FURIOUS, I don’t feel so out of control. I still have problems sleeping and concentrating, but not ANYTHING like before.
I am an electrical engineer. In the weeks after my return to work, I found that I had no recall of certain details of my job. We are very procedure and detail oriented. I found that certain blocks of information seemed to have simply disappeared from my long term memory. What else have I forgotten?
For three years post-op I experienced flashbacks of anxiety that occurred randomly – while at work, while driving, while teaching. These were accompanied by an odd sensation of trying to recall a memory but it refused to come into focus. Very strange, very unsettling – and I never experienced anything like this before exposure to Versed.
When I awoke, I was very agitated and upset. I remember wondering what had happened to me, with the sense that something very bad had happened but I couldn’t remember what. Weeks later, I went to use my instant cash card, put it into the machine, and went to enter the PIN number, when I realized, much to my shock, that I had absolutely no idea of what the number was. I had used the same PIN for years. It never did come back. No doubt there are other ‘lost’ things, but I haven’t recognized what they are.
On March 14, 2006, my wife under went an EGD procedure. The Doctor used a powerful sedative, VERSED. She was released to me still under the effect of this drug. VERSED causes a dense amnesia which blocks all memory of the procedure. During the first 2 – 3 weeks following she had trouble finding new locations from typical directions. If she had been there previously then she could find it again. Not so with a new address. The VERSED caused total amnesia lasted for several hours after reaching home. She did not know her husband’s name, for example.
Karen awoke not expecting such a total loss of recall. I have never seen her so anxious. When she found out VERSED was also a Date-Rape drug she was really worried.
Ron Kelly said..
Several years ago I suffered temporary amnesia from a blow to the head. I lost memory of events occuring in the hospital for a couple of weeks, but I DID regain that memory. With the Versed memory loss, I never did regain the memory, and that was 4 years ago.
My wife just had one and was in a haze all day long. As for me? NO THANKS! NO VERSED FOR ME! I have enough memory problems without adding to it.
I have to admit that nearly everyone I talk to, even nurses, absolutely love having Versed. They look at it like a joy ride. That’s fine. I don’t like having blank spots in my memory and don’t want anymore of anything that promotes it.
I never wanted to know what occurred during my surgeries. My medical condition was less than pleasant, and I only cared that the problem was rectified. However, the lasting effects of Versed have caused me to reevaluate my thoughts. What are left of them, that is.
In 1999-2000, I was an award winning Sr. site manager for the world’s largest management company. Then, I had 10 surgeries, 8 of which were done using Versed. Suddenly, I was extremely anxious and even asked to be demoted because I could no longer manage two sites. I had no idea why the work that had once been so easy was suddenly impossible for me to complete. I could not focus on routine tasks and became easily irritated and excessively distracted. Over time it became apparent that certain memories were simply gone.
In 2003, I left my employment to move with my husband. I thought that being a stay at home mother would be easier, and it was for a time. Yet, over the last four years, the problems have gotten worse, not better. It may be because I have time to try to reflect on my life and some fairly large pieces are missing. I agree that these missing memories cause anxiety. Sadly, it’s not just memories from the time of the surgeries that have been erased. I do not remember the first year of my daughter’s life. My husband finds it hilarious when I think that one of our children has done something for the first time and it turns out it is the third or fourth time. I simply don’t remember. I don’t remember large parts of high school and college. I don’t remember much of my childhood.
I can handle that fairly well. What I cannot handle is my distractablilty and irritablility. I seem to get into a rage at times and then become extremely sad and withdrawn afterwards. I live in fear that I will hurt one of my precious children. In researching these issues, I have found that I have all of the symptoms of temporal lobe ADD, and I have an appointment to see a doctor this week. I know that Versed played a role in my problems since they were not present prior to the surgeries.
In closing, I would like to thank Tim and Jackie for contacting me after I posted on another site. Knowing that others have had the same experiences at least gives me some sense of peace.
Impaired memory since administration, now 2 years. Never again. 1mg
My wife had a colonoscopy two months ago. They told her nothing, just “sign on dotted line” and “you will not remember anything”! They used versed, 3 mg followed by another 5 mg during the procedure. She came out of this with everything described as I have read here. All I want is my wife back as she was before the procedure. She was a strong woman, and now she is a basket case.
NOTE: Murray fed Michael with Versed on a continuous basis and on the last night alone he said that he gave Michael 4 mg of Versed. Whether it is true or not it does not matter – if Murray says it is okay to give 4mg of Versed nothing would have stopped him from giving this or a higher dose on another day.
And the Versed sufferer had impaired memory for 2 years from just 1mg of Versed, while the second victim turned into a basket case from being injected 8 mg of Versed just once.
It gives me shudders to recall that Michael was also called a basket case – by stage manager Bugsy (Hougdahl) in his June 19th email to Randy Phillips:
- “I’m not being a drama queen here. MJ was sent home without stepping on stage. He was a basket case and Kenny was concerned he would embarrass himself on stage, or worse yet- get hurt…”
Or this Ortega’s email to Phillips on June 20th:
- “There are strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior….”
Karen Faye said that Michael was barely coherent in his last days and was constantly repeating things to himself. People recalled that he was forgetting the lyrics of his own songs and Ortega seriously considered that he was in need of a psychiatrist.
In short the general impression of it is that Michael was a classical picture of a Versed victim:
To all of you who have had this experience with the Versed, isn’t it ODD that we all can describe the same exact mental reactions to this chemical? As I read the posts of others and re read my own I can see a pattern in the disruption of our mental processes. Anger, anxiety and obsession are at the top of the list, which is really bad for those of us who previously could be described as normal. It is disconcerting to suddenly have mental problems.
I have had a EDG every month for the past year along with an MRI which I was sedated for. The Doctor uses Versed for the EDG procedures. My problem is I have become very depressed and I thought I was suicidal. I even admitted myself to a physic unit. Is this because of the repeat use of versed? I have to have the EDG every three months now. But I am worried about getting worse. I was a Senior Web Developer but lost my job due to my anxiety.
I knew something was wrong when I became very dizzy right before the procedure. The next thing I knew, several hours had gone by and I was being told to wake up. I felt like I’d been hit by a train. I literally felt as though I’d been in a fight. I was told I’d had a bad reaction to the drug they gave me.
Stayed conscious and aware during procedures. After procedure had extreme anxiety, extreme emotional lability, accelerated heart rate, paranoia, vertigo, extreme brain fog, etc that lasted over a week. Thought I was losing my mind. I would NEVER recommend this drug to anyone unless they were fully aware of ALL the side effects this drug can cause.
As a pharmacist with plenty of training in the area of IV drugs (and as someone in a primary care environment who interacts with patients post-procedure)……….with all due respect to the “anesthesia providers” who offer an opinion on Versed, let me make one comment: basically, Versed hurts a LOT of patients. The amnesia, PTSD that is causes is terrible and haunts many patients.
Only through honesty and open dialog can care improve. The truth is Versed IS a real problem for many patients. We all just need to be aware of that and proceed accordingly. However, there are prejudices in both the medical industry and patient attitudes that often cause problems. This site is valuable because it is one method of communicating about the issue and it is reassuring to be reminded that I am not the only person who has had a bad reaction to Versed.
Several years ago I had to go into Dartmouth Hospital for a heart catheterization procedure. I was told I would be awake but “relaxed” because it was a short-term, outpatient procedure being done only to check out my congenital arrhythmia problem. I went ahead with the procedure because I trusted my cardiologist who seemed to trust the Nurse Anesthetist. BIG mistake!
I remember being wheeled into the OR talking about the procedure and my dogs, then suddenly “awakening” in a disoriented panic with the distinct impression that someone was running a blowtorch along my neck. Then, suddenly I guess I was out again as I do not remember much more until I woke up in recovery feeling absolutely awful — the most horrible sense of pain, doom and general malaise ever.
Afterward, despite receiving nothing except “minimal” amounts of Versed and a couple of shots of local anesthetic where they inserted the catheters, I had trouble breathing for several and shook like crazy for hours afterward and experienced nausea and vomiting for several days. For weeks afterward I felt dizzy, unusually tired, lethargic and moderately depressed. Despite usual good health and an even, happy temperament, I just could not seem to get into “recovery” mode. I had recurring nightmares, where I could recall fragments of what had happened in the OR, but could not synthesize them into a context that I could consciously deal with so I could get past them and move one. This lasted for months!
I researched it all myself and learned that I, like MANY (but not all) people have an intolerance to Versed that may well have to do with individual genetics and their effect on metabolizing the various components of the drug. As consumers and human beings, we, as patients, deserve and have a right, as well as an obligation to ensure that we are treated as we should be.
NOTE: Troubles with breathing, shaking like crazy, being unusually tired, lethargic or feeling like “you’ve been hit by a train” were surely the last thing Michael wanted, however if Versed is capable of producing such an effect from just one dose of it, how much more damage could be done by a massive amount of Versed given by Murray on a regular basis?
I am absolutely sure that Versed was administered regularly even from the regularity of orders Murray was making – the first 20 vials (40ml) came on April 30, 2009, 20 more vials arrived on May 12 and 20 more vials on June 15. This makes it 120ml altogether. If divided by approximately 48 working days (April 30 – June 24) it is at least 2,5 ml of Versed per day.
So even if Michael was not having a specific intolerance to this drug the overall quantity of it was still a huge damaging factor to his health.
These people felt lethargic and like they’d been hit by a train? But this is exactly the impression I got of that spider scene in This is it on June 24th – remember Michael and Travis Payne on an elevated bridge slowly taking Michael into some dark door in “This is it” and Michael being unsmiling, slow and barely conscious?
Or do you remember the expression of Michael’s face when he was singing the Earth song? He looked listless and lifeless though they say it was a good rehearsal.
Actually lethargic is a more proper word. And it is not because of the song – he was feeling that way.
Now see what the Versed sufferers say about one more complication of Versed.
My problems with Versed were the after-effects. I experienced extreme insomnia that lasted months, blunted emotions, an inability to be still, and large hives that appeared off and on for months. I had other symptoms, but I’m not sure if they were caused by the Versed or by the fact that I couldn’t sleep, etc. This happened to me a couple of times, but the last time was when I put the puzzle together. I thought I was just going crazy, but found a group on the web that pretty much saved me. I took me almost 2 years to feel like things were back to normal again. I’m glad to find this blog, and that it’s available for others to access before they innocently agree to administration of Versed. I have to say that I have relatives who have used Versed with no problems, but for me, never again.
I never made it to surgery. Immediately began dry heaving violently. Felt like something exploded in my head. I could not go into surgery, because the dry-heaving continued for hours. Not only did have the opposite of relaxation, but I was unable to go to sleep until after 4am the next morning, and then I woke up after about 2 hours from a nightmare. I was never prone to nightmares. The disrupted sleep continued for weeks gradually letting me sleep a bit longer each night, but having multiple nightmares every night. It has been more than a year now, and I am still having nightmares more frequently than ever before. In addition, I have developed what feels like mild altzheimers. I have difficulty focusing.
No one described to me that I would have amnesia after the IV sedation for an endoscopy. It is 12 days since this procedure and I cannot sleep or eat properly and have almost passed out on several occasions, I also feel tearful and extremely agitated.
This was my second experience with Versed. I am glad that I don’t remember anything about the tooth extraction and implant. I felt very foggy the rest of the day. It is now 11 days later and slight fogginess hangs on. I’ve been able to do difficult Sudoku and it has not affected my life at all. I just don’t feel 100%. I have always battled insomnia but it seems worse. (1mg was given)
NOTE: So besides all the other charms of this medication one of its effects is extreme insomnia and problems with sleep – at least for some people? Then what was the point of giving it to Michael? What if he also had the same reaction and his insomnia was actually exacerbated by Versed?
And how could he function if he was experiencing the same fogginess for days and weeks after Versed that was given to him on a nightly basis?
Severe panic attack the following day. Happened while driving. Stopped twice in severe distress not wanting to have an accident. Heart racing, shaking, light headed, sounds seemed muffled and strange. Very scary. Had never experienced this before.
The surgery I had was no more painful than getting a tooth filled. Conscious sedation and lidocane was enough pain control. That’s right, I was conscious, like I wanted thru half the surgery! Two months later experienced severe headaches, loss of concentration, inability to focus, Impulsive rage, depression , suicidal thoughts and a loss of self-control. This lasted about 3 weeks as the drug absorbed in to the tissues during the surgery got released.
I am ENRAGED at the common misuse of this drug! After I awoke in Recovery, I had severe trembling that quickly diminished but kept coming back periodically for 2 weeks. Crying (I believe as a side effect of Versed) in recovery because they couldn’t “find” my husband in the waiting room even though he was there anxious to hear how the surgery had gone for the 7 hour duration. Severe shivering, disturbing memory fragments, fear, anxiety lasting weeks.
I was fine just before I was given the the drug through an IV, but when I woke up in my hospital bed I was shaking so bad that the bed was shaking too. I was unable to walk unassisted for months, I used walls to get from one room to another. I shook so bad that children would ask their parents “What was wrong with that lady?” I scared them. I was with my mother who was in her sixties and I was in my forties at a plant sale. I purchased several plants and was picking them up to put hem in the car when a bunch of older women came running to help me. No one assisted my sixty something mother, just me because of my whole body shaking. I couldn’t even write because I did not have control of my hands. Even today the limbs on my right side have tremors that are very visible. I shake so much that it is very painful because it never stops and my muscles cannot relax. It is now more than fifteen years later and I’m still in pain. I am scared to death of taking any sort of medication.
I felt like I had had about six drinks too many, but never lost consciousness, was totally aware of what was going on, and was highly annoyed by the uppity attitudes of the staff. Apparently they thought I would not remember. I had a full-blown-attack of PTSD while in the recovery room, felt like I was freezing to death and shivering violently. I wanted to kill the nurse because I thought that she was keeping me prisoner, but my body was so drugged I couldn’t even get up. (The nurse was less than compassionate.) My husband is a mental health therapist and he realized that I was hallucinating and tried to calm me down, but it didn’t help. This was a HIDEOUS experience. I will SPECIFICALLY state on any consent forms in the future – “I do NOT consent to the use of Versed.” They can like it or lump it – I don’t really care. There are other things that can be used; the doctors don’t like to use them because they are more expensive (often requiring the presence of an anesthesiologist). I don’t mind paying the difference. I will NEVER go through this again.
NOTE: Does all this shivering and freezing to death remind you of anything? Remember Ortega’s account of Michael shaking so much on June 19th that he could not eat and Ortega had to cut his chicken for him? Here is a part of Ortega’s email of June 19th reminding us how Michael felt that day:
- “He had a visible case of the chills, was trembling, rambling and obsessing. Everything in me says that he should be psychologically evaluated. If we have any chance at all to get him back in the light, it’s going to take a strong Therapist to help him through this as well as immediate physical nurturing. I was told by our Choreographer that during the Artist’s costume fitting with his Designer tonight they noticed he’s lost more weight. As far as I can tell there is no one taking responsibility (caring for) him on a daily basis. Where was his assistant tonight? Tonight I was feeding him, wrapping him in blankets to warm his chills, massaging his feet to calm him and calling his doctor.
Let us try to draw some parallels between the way Michael performed during those two rehearsals and the medications Murray gave to him the previous night.
Prior to June 23rdMurray says that he reduced Propofol and gave more of Lorezapam and Versed, though on that night Michael was still on a drip. The rehearsal was good.
As to the night before June 24th Murray claims he gave Michael solely Versed and Ativan.
And what does Alif Sankey says in her testimony at the AEG trial about that day? She says that on June 24th Michael was cold again and had layers of clothes on:
Q. Was Michael there on the 24th?
A. Yes he was there.
Q. How was Michael dressed for rehearsal, was he dressed normally?
A. When I saw Michael that evening at the Staples Center he was layers and wrapped in a blanket
Q. Is it normal to see entertainers wrapped in a blanket?
A. No not like that.
Q. So you just walked passed Mr. Jackson
Q. How did he (MJ) look that day?
A. He didn’t look good, I asked him if he was cold and he said yes.
Q. Did he do songs that night?
A. He rehearsed and did two songs.
Q. Is it normal to see performers with blankets wrapped around them like this?
A. No not like this.
This was after Versed as Murray told us….
Could the same happen on the night prior to June 19th? Absolutely.
It is absolutely logical to assume that after the June 18th so-called “intervention” meeting where Ortega and AEG threatened Michael to pull the plug and said that he would lose everything, even his kids, Michael was in so awful a condition that Murray could easily give him the strongest drug he had for his anxiety, which was Versed, and probably in a big quantity too.
And it is absolutely logical that the next day Versed turned Michael into a “basket case” and made him shiver and freeze, and go rambling and obsessing, and made him unable even to eat because his hands were shaking so terribly that he could not hold a knife…
In her testimony of May 9, 2013 Alif Sankey said that Michael felt so cold on June 19th that he was sitting in his gloves:
A. He was cold and he would tell me that he was cold and a couple of times that he was cold, he would have layers of clothing on.
Q. Did he wear gloves?
A. He did wear gloves on that the day that we all sat for the run through and his hands were cold he was just sitting there watching the show.
Q. Was it cold in the forum?
A. We had a light and a lot of lighting and the light heats up the room.
Q. What was he wearing when he showed up, was it a t-shirt or was it layers on that night of the 19th, what did you observe?
A. Michael was not dressed necessarily for rehearsal, but there was a concert fitting and it was the last fitting. I was outside of Kenny’s office and Travis Payne and Michael Bush was in the dressing room with Michael and after about 30 minutes Travis comes and informed me that they had to take everything back.
On June 20th Michael looked a little better though on that day no one was paying any real attention to him – everybody was busy pacifying Ortega and assuring him that Michael would be okay and would come to every rehearsal from now on.
However Michael’s condition was far from being normal as on Sunday the next day (June 21st) Michael had a severe case of freezing again – half of his body was cold and half was hot, and this is why they called Nurse Lee and she suggested immediately taking him to hospital.
On Monday June 22th Michael went to Klein’s office for the last time and suddenly broke out dancing there for his patients and Klein and everybody had a terrible premonition of a future tragedy – they somehow felt that they were saying their final goodbye to him.
Then came a good rehearsal on June 23rd after a partial drip of Propofol, followed by a lethargic rehearsal on June 24th after Versed when Michael was feeling cold again, and on June 25th he was simply left alone by Murray and died.
I need to say one more thing about Versed.
Considering that Murray is a criminal there is one more feature of Versed which makes it a very dangerous drug in the hands of a person with criminal inclinations – and this is the ability of this drug to bend the mind of the patient, make him compliant and obedient, and unable to object.
In the circumstances when Michael was pressured with each new day to attend those rehearsals and sign Murray’s contract under which he was obliged to pay him $150,000 a month (though initially it was AEG’s responsibility), this specific quality of Versed is beginning to worry me more and more.
Versed sufferers say about it:
Versed turned me into a compliant zombie without a will of my own no matter how much I fought the drug. It was a real life nightmare where I was trying to stop them and was completely helpless to do anything other than what they ordered me to do. They did not ask if I wanted this, they did not describe the drug except as a “muscle relaxant” They did not even name the drug. I had to go down to the hospital and demand the names of the drugs they used.
I do not know the exact mechanisms involved, but it is supposed to sedate a person and it generally causes amnesia. People can, apparently, carry on a conversation while under the influence. An observer may notice little if anything. One problem is it often turns people into zombies – they are more or less paralyzed and may lose touch with where they are.
This drug is given as a “patient control drug” not to relax the patient. I could hear other patients who had received Versed moanng, crying in pain, but being totally ignored by their providers. I asked one nurse why she was ignoring her patient who was in obvious distress, she told me: “that patient won’t remember any of this for a while so it doesn’t matter” and they just treat the patients roughly and with contempt. When it was my turn, I told the nurse to keep the 4mg of Versed that I was supposed to get and I had a discussion with the GI doctor about the obvious patient abuse that was happening right before my eyes with Versed. She was embarassed when I asked her: “why would you give me Versed after failing to tell me of it’s side-effects?” Why would you treat me with such contempt?
When the anesthesiologist came in, I asked her about Versed; she basically told me thet the endo nurses give it because they aren’t credentialed to give propofol. Yes, a LOT of patients have horrible long-term memory and PTSD issues after Versed and many feel traumatized. No, she would not want Versed herself. I then loudly berated the GI doctor for using Versed to insure that patients become cooperative (but possibly terrified) and in pain (but unable to communicate)..they love Versed, it forces compliance and gets the patient out the door to deal with the psychic trauma at home. The GI doc was very flustered by my speech and she was really upset when I grabbed my clothes, pulled out my cannula and tossed the IV in the sink, loudly proclaiming that I would risk colon cancer (which killed my wife) rather than be treated by a so-called “doctor” like her who is totally dishonest about the Versed that gives during colonoscopy…what else is she lying about? this “doctor” was sobbing when I left; I guess it’s because she was good fiends with my wife..
I was in my early 30’s and had Versed when I had my wisdom teeth removed by an Oral Surgeon. I was completely asleep. When I awoke, I started asking the same questions over and over which was to be expected with this type of drug before it was out of your system. The problem was, once it was out of my system, my memory was never the same again. I have told doctors I will never allow it to be used on me again, You’d think by now they would have come up with something better but even new dentists with extensive training in anesthesiology still do not use newer protocols – most continue to use Versed, Brevital and Valium – all old drugs! I love Propofol but know it is normally only used on intubated patients inside a hospital setting. Propofol is best because it is short acting, and it has no memory side effects that I have ever experienced. It’s just like having a really good deep sleep and when you wake up you feel great. Some dentists do use it, but I am not sure of the rest of the protocols they use with it. Anyway, don’t believe anyone that says Versed doesn’t cause permanent memory loss (problems with short term memory) because it DOES. I cannot look at a phonebook or piece of paper with a 10 digit phone number on it and remember it long enough to dial the phone (one example).
NOTE: It isn’t the first time we hear of a comparison of Versed with Propofol and get the impression that Propofol is actually a much better choice – only it is a more expensive one as it requires the presence of an anesthesiologist or at least of a credentialed anesthetist nurse, and this is where the core of the problem evidently is.
Versed is simply easier for a doctor and I do not rule out that Murray was trying to make life easier for himself too…
And medical care providers themselves imply that Propofol does not have all these horrible side effects everyone threatens us with now. In this piece the anesthesiologist directly says that Propofol is a much better choice than Versed, so even from this point of view Murray was changing from one bad thing to an even worse one:
Interesting website. I am an anesthesiologist and I always try to be upfront and honest about the drugs I use. I’d say about 99% of people prefer to be unconscious as early as possible and remember as little as possible about their surgery, so we get used to sedating people as soon as possible.
The idea that people actually don’t want versed is foreign to a lot of health care workers, so they will want to give it anyway. We see the effects of versed many times every day, and I can tell you that nurses and doctors who administer Versed almost always want Versed when going through a procedure themselves. FYI – the easiest way to avoid Versed would be to list it in your medical allergies.
As an aside, sedation for colonscopies, and most other procedures are smoother with propofol than versed, plus patients wake up quicker. For that reason, CRNA’s and anesthesiologists usually prefer propofol over versed for short sedation cases such as colonscopies. My guess is that some of these unpleasant experiences were from an RN administering high doses of Versed under the GI doc’s supervision, rather than from a CRNA’s use of versed under an anesthesiologist’s supervision. I’m sure that’s not the case everytime, it’s just a thought. Don’t assume that just because you were sedated that anesthesia providers were involved. It may have just been an RN and the doc doing the procedure.
NOTE: So again, just as in the case of propofol Versed requires proper training in the first place which Murray was surely lacking. By the way Midazolam should be provided strictly in a hospital setting too as its protocol says.
It’s funny that this doctor mentioned nurses and doctors choosing Versed for their own procedures. He would be surprised to hear the following damning accounts from his own colleagues:
I’m a physician and I have recommended “sedation” for colonoscopies and was not apprehensive when I was coerced (in a nice way by my nurses) to get one myself. The “sedation” was what most patients receive..Versed 4mg plus some fentanyl…this was a total nightmare! I was not relaxed or sedated at all..it was a drug combo that rendered me unable to communicate and tell the doc that the pain was intolerable…I was thrashing around so badly that the colonoscopy could not be done……….they told me that: “you did great”……..what a joke, I was soaked with sweat and experienced the worst pain of my life…the Versed made it hard for me to communicate..….I will NEVER recommend that ANY patient underdo colonoscopy or any other procedure with “conscious sedation”..Versed is a terrible drug and it appears that many docs exploit it’s “amnesia” properties to treat patients in a rough and abusive manner…
I’m an advance-practice nurse who has always told patients that Versed is safe and effective. I no longer do so; in fact I would not recommend this drug at all. My first colonoscopy with 4mg Versed/100mcg fentanyl was a nightmare; the Versed caused extreme agitation, panic,shaking even before the colonoscopy was started. The test was not even started because I was so terrified. Read: TERRIFIED. I have seen every surgical procedure and had confidence in my endo team (I work with them daily), but after receiving Versed and being told that: “you are doing fine..while I was terrified, shaking, my BP thru the roof etc”, I do not trust and form of sedation with this amnestic drug. And weeks later,I can’t remember my kid’s birthdays etc.
Want a terrible experience during a colonoscopy? Want to be terrified, unable to move or communicate (a chemical straightjacket?). Sign the routine sedation consent form and they will give you Versed and laugh at your distress.
First let me say I am a Registered Nurse, and I have seen Versed work as it should, but for me it was a nightmare. After giving me “the usual dose” I had absolutely no effect at all, they might as well have given me sterile water. When they realized it wasn’t working, they gave me three more doses, I remember intense fear, panic and I am told that I “turned the air blue with my swearing” which is not good as all since the proceedure was done at the hospital where I worked. To make matters worse I ended up staying two days in the hospital for what should have been an outpatient procedure because I was so disoriented and quite frankly I think that they thought I was mentally ill. To make things worse the so called Amnesia effect that is the reason the drug is used, never worked, I remember acting like a hell cat, and I have to face these people every time I go to work. The real kicker is that I recently had the other knee operated on at another hospital, I listed Versed as an allergy, the Anesthesiologist questioned me and said that is not an allergy, a lot of patients react that way, and yes you guessed it even though I said don’t give it to me, they did, same reaction as last, I have confirmed this by getting a copy of my chart.
I am an RN, if that means anything with these comments. This is the dumbest drug I’ve ever seen. It’s primary “help,” in my opinion, from personal experience and hearing from friends, is to put you into such an apathetic child-like state that you can’t speak for yourself honestly when you are in agony during a procedure! Very convenient for the doctor and staff. Maybe they are in denial about it’s effectiveness? The amnesia wears off for me and many others I’ve encountered, leaving you with a sense of being victimized and traumatized. Never again!!!
Received versed way back in 1990 for a colonoscopy and wound up with a blood clot in my neck, hospitalized on heparin injections for a few days and 18 months of coumadin. Have a colonoscopy every three years and absolutely REFUSE any versed even tho almost 100 percent of the medical pros seem to defend the drug and all refer to it as the drug of choice especially for colonoscopies. By the way, I am a registered nurse and am a bit concerned by the defense of this drug.
Now know just why it is used so often for procedures not requiring deep sedation, it makes the patient totally compliant with absolutely no memory of the procedure. While I will concede that this is beneficial in promoting patient compliance for repeat colonoscopy screens, there is definitely an air of evasiveness with the risks of this drug.
As with ALL pharmaceuticals, there is a risk/benefit ratio, but as this drug is so convenient to the ease of completing the test I know, as a heath care professional, that full disclosure about the down side of this med is NOT being disclosed.
Everyone understands that the problem with Versed for Michael was not in handling his pain (he probably had none).
The problem was that this nasty and evil drug was totally unnecessary and even damaging for his condition and was imposed on Michael despite his will and in the quantities which exceeded anything anyone ever heard of.
The primary purpose of Versed is to deal with anxiety, send the patient into a “La-La-Land”, give a little drowsiness and induce total amnesia. Did Michael need any of that, especially amnesia? Absolutely not, unless Murray wanted to mend his mind and turn him into a complete vegetable unable to function on an intellectual level.
Wiki also describes Midazolam in a way that makes it clear that a prolonged use of it may turn a person into a lobotomized case:
In susceptible individuals, midazolam has been known to cause a paradoxical reaction, a well-documented complication with benzodiazapines. When this occurs, the individual may experience anxiety, involuntary movements, aggressive or violent behavior, uncontrollable crying or verbalization, and other similar effects. Paradoxical behavior is often not recalled by the patient due to the amnesia-producing properties of the drug. In extreme situations, flumazenil can be administered to inhibit or reverse the effects of midazolam.
Midazolam is known to cause respiratory depression. In healthy humans, 0.15 mg/kg of midazolam may cause respiratory depression, which is postulated to be a central nervous system (CNS) effect.Although the incidence of respiratory depression/arrest is low (0.1-0.5%) when midazolam is administered alone at normal doses, the concomitant use with CNS acting drugs may increase the possibility of hypotension, respiratory depression, respiratory arrest, and death, even at therapeutics doses.
Prolonged infusions with midazolam results in the development of tolerance; if midazolam is given for a few days or more a withdrawal syndrome can occur. Withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, abnormal reflexes, tremors, clonus, hypertonicity, delirium,and seizures, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, tachycardia, hypertension and tachypnea.
Symptoms of midazolam overdose can include: Ataxia Dysarthria Slurred speech Mental confusion Hypotension Respiratory arrest Vasomotor collapse, Impaired motor functions, Impaired reflexes, Impaired coordination , Impaired balance, Dizziness, Coma, Death
Midazolam has been used to execute condemned prisoners in the USA via lethal injection.
Fine. Let us sum up.
Murray is either an ignorant imbecile or a criminal involved in a most ingenious conspiracy against Jackson.
The idea that a doctor would give Michael for sleep the medication that is intended to keep patients awake is something really unheard of. Whether done out of ignorance or malicious intent both ways are criminal. Doctors are not allowed to experiment on their patients as if they were guinea pigs – their primary duty is not to do harm and if they don’t know how to do it they should better refrain from even trying.
It is a human life after all.
The main purpose of Versed is decreasing anxiety and producing amnesia. This is why it is used as a pre-operative drug to reduce the patients’ panic and decrease recall of the unpleasant procedure.
But Michael did not need amnesia – he was suffering from insomnia, however this drug does not induce sleep. It keeps the patient awake and also makes him cooperative. Some medical professionals even point out that the main advantage of the drug is promoting the patient’s compliance.
To a criminal doctor this opens a vast field for abuse as the patient will be cooperative, will do as he is told and will also remember nothing of it. If, for example, he is told to sign papers in this condition he will do so, and will not even remember what papers he signed.
I have a strong temptation to suspect Murray of using this drug on purpose and with criminal intentions too. The only thing which is more or less releasing him of this suspicion is that he is an ignorant idiot who seldom understands what he is doing, so he could be using Versed is as part of a standard protocol he distantly heard of – after all many other medical care providers also apply it without giving it a thought.
On the other hand Versed is part of a pre-operative protocol and Michael was not undergoing any operations, so there was no obvious need for Murray to select this particular drug.
And Murray is the kind of a man who is not burdened with conscience and ethics, so when it comes to taking advantage of an opportunity that presents itself in this or that way there are absolutely no ethical barriers to stop him.
In short the mystery whether Murray did it intentionally or not will forever haunt me.
However remembering Murray’s idiocy and readiness to talk about Midazolam as a better choice for Michael I’m still inclined to think that he did not know of the poisonous effect of Versed. As is usual with Murray it could be simply a case of his utter incompetence and arrogant ignorance.
Time will show what it really was.