July 1, 2009
A Los Angeles nutritionist who worked for Michael Jackson has come forward saying the pop star begged her give him a powerful sleeping agent in the days before his death.
Cherilyn Lee, a registered nurse and nutritionist said she refused to help him obtain Diprivan, a sedative used mostly in hospitals.
Lee said during the call from a Jackson staffer, she heard Jackson in the background “He said ‘Find me an anesthesiologist, I don’t care how much money they want, find me an anesthesiologist to be with me here overnight and give me this IV.'”
Jackson, Lee said, said he was in extreme discomfort, was desperate for sleep and said that one side of his body was hot and the other side was cold.
Lee said wasn’t familiar with the drug when he first asked for it three months ago, but, after consulting with a doctor, warned Jackson it could kill him.
“‘I look at you Michael and I’ve been around you long enough now, I love you as family. I would not give this to anyone,'” Lee said she told Jackson. “I said, ‘This is not a safe medicine, please don’t take this.'”
Lee said Jackson had often complained of not being able to sleep more than a few hours at a time and the man who would often watch Donald Duck cartoons in bed, trying to sleep. “‘The problem with you telling me you want to be knocked out,'” She says she told him, is “‘you might not wake up the next morning. You don’t want that.'”
But Jackson, she said, was convinced he’d be OK, telling her that his doctors had said it was safe as long as someone was monitoring him.
Lee said that encounter, three months ago, was the last time she saw him.
Then, four days before Jackson suffered cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home, Lee said she got the frantic call from Jackson’s camp about the singer wanting Diprivan and complaining about his body being alternately hot and cold.
Lee said she told Jackson to go to the hospital. He never went.
“I don’t know what that could be, maybe his heart, his central nervous system and at that point I knew that somebody had given him something that hit that central nervous system because you know, that’s all he wanted, was to sleep,” she said. “But he was in trouble.”
Though some close to Jackson have told ABC News the King of Pop was addicted to the painkillers OxyContin and Demerol, a lawyer for his Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson’s personal physician, said the doctor had not prescribed either of those drugs for the pop icon. He has not commented on Diprivan.
Dr. John Dombrowski of the American Board of Anesthesiology, said Jackson’s complaints of being hot and cold are consistent with someone who was already receiving intravenous drugs.
Diprivan is not to be used as a sleeping agent, he said, but rather to put patients to sleep in hospital settings.
“There’s a big risk here,” he told “Good Morning America” today, listing respiratory failure and the collapse of the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure as possible side effects.
And, Dombrowski said, if Jackson was on other painkillers and prescription drugs, adding Diprivan could have created a lethal combination. The drug, he said, will show up in toxicology tests.