More than Mother’s little helper…
Tomorrow marks one month until the status hearing with Judge Weisberg to review the status of evidence testing of the 3-4 cc’s of Robert Wone’s blood specimen remaining from the autopsy. The status of other forensic testing is also anticipated.
At the May 22, 2009 status hearing the prosecution and defense agreed that the remaining blood would be used to test for additional drugs. Both sides concurred that these tests would consume all of what remains. The government and defense were told to agree upon the limited number of drugs that would be screened given the size of the remaining sample, paralytics included. Weisberg suggested, “… and anything that ends in -caine.”
Much has been discussed regarding the possible use of ketamine to incapacitate Robert. After all, ketamine is readily available on the street or the back doors of unscrupulous veterinarians or physicians. Recently, another anesthetic has been making headlines in the Michael Jackson investigation – propofol.
Propofol is a short-acting, intravenous agent used extensively in anesthesia and intensive care medicine to provide dose-dependent sedation and hypnosis. It is characterized by a short onset, a short duration of action, low toxicity, ability to control sedation, and ease of administration. Thus, it quickly found general acceptance amongst anesthesiologists after its introduction into the market in the mid- 1980s. Other advantages to propofol are its anti-nausea properties and rapid metabolism, eliminating undesirable side-effects of its popular predecessor, sodium pentothal.
The New York Times recently featured a front page story propofol’s potential for abuse and addiction . Detailed in an article from Anesthesia & Analgesia:
Although its clinical properties are well known to anesthesia providers, knowledge concerning its abuse potential and more complex issues, such as its use in suicide, are less commonly appreciated. Before 1992, clinicians and the manufacturer were convinced that such abuse was rare to nonexistent. Since 1992, however, reports have been published (largely in forensic medical journals) concerning abuse, accidental overdose and suicide.
Propofol is mostly abused by health care staff including anesthetists, practitioners, nurses and technicians…Propofol has a narrow window of safety. Induction of anesthesia with propofol is associated with cessation of breathing in some adults and children. Prolonged high dose infusions of propofol for sedation in adults and children have been associated with cessation of breathing, breakdown of heart muscle, heart and kidney failure leading to death in some cases, referred as “Propofol Infusion Syndrome.” Propofol abuse may also cause fluid in lungs, cardio-respiratory depression and death. There is no antagonist or reversal medication for propofol.
Propofol is an unlikely street drug, given its narrow window of safety, usually managed skillfully through proper administration and monitoring of vital signs by anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists. Euphoria, sexual hallucinations and dis-inhibition have been described on recovery of propofol anesthesia. These effects could explain the recreational use of the drug. That does not preclude obtaining the drug through seemingly legitimate channels. One case of propofol abuse involved a 25 year old man who obtained prescriptions for propofol from various veterinarians whom he told that he was a tropical fish enthusiast and he needed propofol to anesthetize his fish.
Did the government and defense team agree to include propofol in the list of drugs to be tested in Robert Wone’s blood? Perhaps we will learn at the September 11th status hearing.
– posted by Michael