Michael Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe broke down in tears, as she testified before a Los Angeles jury about Jackson’s incredible fear of pain. She said that it was as though the doctors, whom she likened to vultures, were treating him and competing with each other over who was the most effective at controlling his pain.
“Michael had a very low pain tolerance, and his fear of pain was incredible. And I think the doctors took advantage of him that way,” stated the mother of two of his children, Paris and Prince Jackson. Rowe also described how she had tried to dissuade Jackson from taking such high doses of Demerol, following his tragic and highly publicized scalp burning incident, when his hair and hand caught fire during a Pepsi commercial shoot back in 1993. It was from this point that Jackson was said to have increased, and become addicted to, such high doses of painkillers.
Rowe had been called upon to testify as a defense witness for AEG Live, the concert promoters and producers were said to have hired Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered that deadly overdose of propofol that ultimately took Jackson’s life shortly before his “This Is It” Tour kicked off in 2009. Murray is currently serving four years. Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and Jackson’s children, are suing AEG Live because they claim the company neglected to thoroughly investigate Murray before hiring him to look after Jackson.
But AEG is hoping to prove, with Debbie Rowe’s testimony, that Michael Jackson was already a drug addict prior to their hiring him for the tour. The company want Ms Rowe to reveal how Jackson had been taking propofol and other heavy sedatives for decades, but they also wanted to expose how many people did not know about his addiction – save for the very few – within his close-knit circle.
Jackson was once married to Ms Rowe from 1996 to 1999. She described how during the time that they were friends, two doctors in particular – Jackson’s dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein and plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven Hoefflin – were constantly “competing” for one-upmanship on best performance in administering painkillers. She became tearful as she told of how they “were going back and forth the whole time, not caring about him… Klein was not doing what was best for Michael.” Rowe went on that, “The only physician who ever cared for Michael was Allan Metzger.” Metzger was Jackson’s internist, who treated him for lupus. She had expressed her concerns that Jackson was being prescribed too much medication, in too high doses. Rowe would always insist on staying with him when he was prescribed propofol overnight, so that she could keep an eye on him. On other occasions, she would confiscate his medication. “I’m probably one of the only people who said no to him,” she said.
Ms Rowe testified that she had been with Jackson on occasions when Dr. Hoefflin had administered propofol for basic cosmetic procedures such as collagen and botox injections. She also offered that she had seen Dr. Klein – for whom she once worked – knock out several patients whilst undergoing cosmetic procedures. Rowe added that Klein had given Jackson propofol, put him to sleep and then led him to believe he had performed the procedures that Jackson had wanted, when all he had really done was put some tape across his nose.
AEG’s argument comes from its principal lawyer, Marvin Putnam, who had suggested that Rowe was very familiar with Jackson’s preference to the strong anesthetic and often begged Murray for doses as an aid for his insomnia. He argued that Ms Rowe had known about Jackson’s addiction and misuse of heavy painkillers as a sleep aid as far back as the 1990s.
AEG deny hiring Dr. Murray, insisting that Jackson was the one who hired him and obtained the propofol in a clandestine manner. The company also claimed that any money that the company had paid Murray came out of Jackson’s advance.
The case continues.
By Brucella Newman