Michael Jackson went without REM sleep for 60 days, and he might have been dead in less than 80 days if he’d continued to take nightly injections of the drug Dr. Conrad Murray gave him for insomnia.
That’s the horrifying testimony that a Harvard Medical School sleep expert, Dr. Charles Czeisler, gave Friday in the wrongful death civil jury trial that Jackson’s mother Katherine has brought against his concert promoter AEG Live.
Her attorneys believe that AEG Live was negligent and contributed to Michael Jackson’s unexpected death at age 50 on June 25, 2009 by hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, a cardiologist, instead of a sleep expert to treat Jackson’s insomnia. Murray injected Jackson with a surgical anesthetic called propofol for 60 nights in a row before trying to wean him off the medication, which most experts agree he should have never received in the first place.
Jackson died three days later.
Murray has already been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the crime and is serving four years in prison.
According to a lengthy CNN report, Dr. Czeisler testified Friday that the drug had never been given to a human for such a length of time. Although a person who receives propofol thinks that they got a refreshing night’s sleep, they are not capable of experiencing a form of sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) which is associated with memory and learning.
Rats deprived of REM sleep die in about five weeks. Dr. Czeisler believes that a human would have died within 80 days:
“It would be like eating some sort of cellulose pellets instead of dinner. Your stomach would be full, and you would not be hungry, but it would be zero calories and not fulfill any of your nutrition needs.”
As the trial enters its eighth week, The Los Angeles Times predicted that stars like Prince and Diana Ross may soon be called to testify about Michael Jackson’s condition in the last days of his life.
The fact that Michael Jackson went without REM sleep for 60 days may explain many of the symptoms friends witnessed in the days leading up to his death.
[Michael Jackson photo by OrguzJackson via Wikimedia]