Doctor: Jackson Sought Propofol Long Before Death

By Anthony McCartney
|  Thursday, Aug 29, 2013  |  Updated 11:04 AM EDT
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Michael Jackson attends a press conference to announce plans for a summer residency of concerts at the O2 Arena, Grenwich on March 5, 2009 in London, England.

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Michael Jackson requested the anesthetic propofol to help him sleep at least a decade before he died from an overdose of the drug, a doctor testified Wednesday.

Dr. Christine Quinn said Jackson summoned her to a Beverly Hills hotel in 1998 or 1999 and asked her to give him propofol.

The request came after she met the entertainer while he was undergoing dental procedures. She said she refused the request and told Jackson it wasn't appropriate to use anesthesia as a sleep aid.

"I told him that the sleep you get with anesthesia is not real sleep, not restful sleep," Quinn said.

Jackson responded by saying his time under anesthesia was the best sleep he had ever had, she testified.

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Jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of propofol that was administered in the singer's bedroom by Conrad Murray, who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Quinn was testifying for the defense in a negligent hiring lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother against AEG Live LLC, the promoters of the singer's ill-fated comeback concerts. AEG denies it hired Murray.

Quinn said she gave Jackson anesthesia for procedures done after the meeting at the hotel. He never asked for propofol after the meeting or requested that he be kept under for longer than was medically necessary, she said.

Jurors also heard Wednesday from Cherilyn Lee, a nurse practitioner who said Jackson said he needed propofol to help him sleep in April 2009, a little more than two months before his death. Lee said she warned Jackson that propofol was unsafe for home use and he might not wake up, but the singer insisted that doctors told him he would be fine as long as he was monitored.

"His demeanor was, 'I have to have this. I have to have this to sleep. You don't understand, I have not had a good night's sleep,'" Lee said.

Lee did not give propofol to Jackson.

AEG Live has called a number of Jackson's former doctors to testify.

One expert hired by the company, Dr. Petros Levounis, told jurors on Tuesday that Jackson exhibited signs that he was doctor shopping and trying to find medical practitioners who would give him opioid medications.

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Attorneys for Jackson's mother have acknowledged the singer struggled with prescription medications but said he generally received anesthesia and medications during medical and dental procedures.

They rejected the characterization of Jackson as an addict.

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