Doctors ‘competed’ to treat Michael Jackson, claims ex-wife

Debbie Rowe, the 54-year-old mother of Jackson's two older children, told jurors that the singer had a "very low tolerance for pain" and that over the years doctors had prescribed potent drugs like Demerol, Dilaudid, Oxycodone and Vicodin.

"His fear of pain was incredible," Rowe said during the 16th week of the trial, in which Jackson's 83-year-old mother Katherine is suing tour promoter AEG Live.

The family matriarch is the main plaintiff in the multimillion-dollar case against AEG Live, which she accuses of negligently retaining doctor Conrad Murray to look after Jackson as he rehearsed in Los Angeles for his This is It comeback tour.

Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 over Jackson's death on June 25 2009, from an overdose of the surgical anaesthetic propofol, administered to help the 50-year-old cope with chronic insomnia.

Addicted to drugs
Rowe, who was married to Jackson from 1996 to 1999, testified on behalf of AEG, which argues Jackson was secretly addicted to drugs and responsible for his own death.

She said that Jackson's history of chronic pain, and of doctors happily prescribing increasingly powerful drugs, long predated his time with Murray.

Rowe said doctors took advantage of Jackson, prescribing narcotics to treat everything from acne to a burn on his scalp suffered during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in 1983.

Referring to the doctors as "these idiots", Rowe stated: "You don't call someone and say let's take Dilaudid instead of Aspirin."

But Jackson listened to the doctors, Rowe said. "He foolishly, foolishly trusted people."

Rowe met Jackson when she was working as a nurse for dermatologist Arnold Klein, who was then treating the singer for acne.


Divorce was amicable
Rowe, who now raises horses, said she put together a programme before the start of the Dangerous tour in 1992 to ease Jackson, for whom she had become a confidante, off the pain medication.

"I took it [the medication] away and I said 'you're not taking it'," she said. But she claimed her efforts were ruined by tour doctor David Forecast.

"Forecast was yet another doctor that didn't put him first – as a patient, as a human being," she alleged.

The doctor was "hurting him, not helping him."

Rowe added that at the time of her amicable divorce from Jackson, she had jokingly told him: "I'm giving you custody of the doctors – be nice to them."– AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sapa Afp
Guest Author
Advertising

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

Old Mutual announces digital AGM

An ambitious plan to create Africa’s biggest digital classroom is intended to address one of the continent’s biggest challenges — access to education

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday