Michael Jackson desperate for sleep, drugs, doctor says

A close friend and doctor who treated Michael Jackson for more than 25 years testified Thursday that the desperate singer asked him for an anesthetic to combat his insomnia a little more than two months before his death.

Dr. Allen Metzger, who had accompanied Jackson on a tour of Australia in the 1990s, said Jackson seemed more stressed than usual when he made a house call to the singer's rented Holmby Hills mansion.

“The stress of rehearsing, and 'Can I do 50 shows?' was really weighing heavily on him,” said Metzger, who is expected to be one of the final witnesses in the five-month wrongful-death trial.

MICHAEL JACKSON: Complete trial coverage

Jackson was rehearsing for his 50-concert "This Is It" comeback tour in London at the time of his death on June 25, 2009.

Metzger's notes from the April 18, 2009 visit were shown to jurors. “He inquired about intravenous 'sleep medication,' and I explained this was dangerous and potentially life-threatening, and should not be done outside of the hospital," the doctor wrote.

Metzger wrote in his notes that he would prescribe "a small amount of sleep medications."

Asked by lawyer Deborah Chang, an attorney for the Jackson family, whether the pop star seemed desperate, Metzger replied, “Yes.”

"Did you feel badly for him?"

“Absolutely.”

Metzger said that shortly after the house call he spoke to the head of anesthesiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center "to find out if he had any special tricks.... I needed some help."

Metzger said the anesthesiologist couldn't help him and didn't know any anesthesiologists in England who could assist Jackson with his sleep problem.

That was the last time he saw Jackson.

The singer's mother and three children are suing concert promoter AEG, alleging that the firm negligently hired and supervised Conrad Murray, the Las Vegas doctor who gave Jackson the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol. AEG says Murray worked for Jackson, and that any money it was supposed to pay the doctor was part of an advance to the singer for the upcoming concerts.

The case, which started in late April, is expected to go to the jury next week.

Metzger, who said he visited Jackson's Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County as many as 14 times, was shown a photo of a skinny Jackson at a costume-fitting less than a week before he died.

Chang asked if that was how he remembered Jackson's condition.

“Oh, no. Not at all,” he replied.

"Would you be concerned?" she asked.

“Oh yes, oh yes,” he said.

ALSO:

USC center on health economics receives a $25-million gift

Ex-Long Beach officer accused of beating wife gets 12 years

Suspect in Downey Craigslist killings could face death penalty

 

jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com