Michael Jackson insurers thought glowing medical examination for tour must have been on “the body of a Nasa astronaut”
By Stephen Moyes and Annette Witheridge 5/08/2009
This is the doctor who declared Michael Jackson fit for his gruelling London gigs, just weeks before the singer’s fatal heart attack.
Dr David Slavit’s examination results were handed to the insurers of Jackson’s planned 50 O2 concerts.
But officials were surprised Jackson passed the medical, despite a history of health problems.
It left finance chiefs joking that the examination must have been based on, “the body of a Nasa astronaut” rather than the 50-year-old star.
They wondered why the paper made no mention of the King of Pop’s widely-known medical troubles, including a singed scalp, plastic surgery or broken leg.
And Dr Slavit’s report is now at the centre of a multi-million pound row between concert promoters AEG and insurers Robertson Taylor.
After receiving the results, the Londonbased brokers arranged for their own tests to be carried out before sealing a deal with AEG.
The firm dispatched a medic to LA to conduct the tests, but Jackson said he was unable to see him.
Bosses did sign a deal insuring an initial number of the London gigs but only subject to their own rigorous tests being carried out in the UK.
They insisted on being at Jacko’s scheduled stage rehearsal on July 10 at the O2 – and wanted to do a full examination next day.
But because Jackson died on June 25 – after the insurance deal had been signed, but before the “subject to” details were ratified – a dispute has broken out. Legal papers also showed the singer only ever wanted to perform at 10 London gigs. Sources close to the final deal suggest he was “bullied” into agreeing to 50 shows.
A spokesman for AEG said: “AEG did not hire any doctor at any time in connection with securing insurance.
“Dr David Slavit performed the medical exam which was submitted to the insurers as part of their underwriting.
“Aeg has never received a copy of Dr Slavit’s medical exam.
“A second medical examination was scheduled in the UK when the tour arrived. The policy was issued in a fictitious name.”
New York plastic surgeon Dr Slavit made out Jacko’s medical certificate in the name “M Jones”. It is standard practice for celebrities to use a pseudonym to prevent embarrassing personal health details leaking out.
The ear, nose and throat specialist has been subject to a search warrant by the Los Angeles coroner who is investigating Jackson’s death.
Dr Slavit, who lives in New Jersey with his wife Robin, 49, and three young children, refused to comment yesterday on his decision to give the star a clean bill of health. His receptionist said: “I have passed on your messages but he will not be speaking.”