Fair to Blame the Pusher in Jackson's Death

In allowing a drug-addicted patient to dictate the terms of his treatment, Dr. Conrad Murray transgressed medical ethics, Leonard Pitts Jr. writes in his Miami Herald column.

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Dr. Conrad Murray (Getty)

In his Miami Herald column, Leonard Pitts Jr. writes that by allowing Michael Jackson, a drug-addicted patient, to dictate the terms of his treatment, Dr. Conrad Murray transgressed not just law but medical ethics. He also defied common sense and simple decency.

... When an addict dies it is fair to blame the pusher who sold him his final fix. But what do you say of the addict himself, for never seeking or accepting help, for not grasping the hands of those who reached out?

After all, people pleaded with Jackson, and family tried to stage an intervention. None of them could save him, nor induce him to save himself. And that is the lasting tragedy here, the thing that will haunt long after Conrad Murray has served his sentence, written his book and been forgotten.

Jackson lived 40 years in the spotlight, four decades that saw him transfigure from a handsome, preternaturally talented adolescent with an irrepressible grin to a parchment-colored wraith with fright wig hair and a collapsed proboscis.

Over those years, he became famous to a degree for which he was unprepared, a degree for which, arguably, no one could be. And in the darkness beyond the floodlights, Jackson lived a life noteworthy for its bizarreness, its unrestraint and its detachment from reality.

Read Leonard Pitts Jr.'s entire column at the Miami Herald.

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