That's the detail that gets me. I have felt no desire to write about the death of Michael Jackson, but sometimes the story just starts writing itself. I imagine this scene - a doctor and a man; the man pleading for six hours straight for a drug. The doctor stays up all night with him, hour by hour putting an encyclopedia full of other drugs into his system, but not that one. The man says he cannot sleep without it, it is his milk. Who is the doctor to deny his patient what he needs? Who better than the man to know if he can sleep or not, if he is in pain or not?
There's nothing black-and-white about medicine like this. Any man, even a man with an MD, would find his confidence in his own judgment battered by six hours of agonized begging. And did I mention the doctor is being paid $150,000 a month, and being jetted around the world, to act as the man's personal physician? That money isn't so he'll tape the man's ankle up for a dance rehearsal.
We know that if you are rich (in money or in friends), there are a different set of rules in this country. You're not even supposed to have propofol outside of a hospital - yet no one is interested in the question of how he got it. The money wanted it, the money got it. He called it his milk. I was talking about this around the breakfast table with my father, reiterated my belief that any rich person's drug-related death is essentially a suicide. My father agreed: "Suicide by doc," he called it.
I remember reading Marsha Norman's 'night Mother in college, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a woman preparing for her suicide, and explaining her reasons to her mother as she does. Even just reading it pummeled me; it was so decided and inexorable, I felt dread through the last page and all night afterward. What a two-person play this last night in Jackson's life was - I don't think that doctor needs to go to jail. He'll spend the rest of his life remembering his starring role.