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Michael Jackson : Autopsy Failed Reveal Cause Of Death

The cause of Michael Jackson’s death will not be known for several weeks after the Los Angeles County Coroner ordered more tests but no signs of foul play have been found.

Craig Harvey, operating chief officer of the Los Angeles County Coroners office, gave a briefing on the results of the autopsy on the body of Michael Jackson.

A three-hour autopsy failed to reveal a cause of death and toxicology tests are to be carried out with the results expected in four to six weeks.

Coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey said: “The cause of death has been deferred, which means the medical examiner wants additional tests, such as toxicology and other studies.”

Harvey said there were no signs of foul play or external trauma to the 50 year old singer’s body. He refused to comment on any drugs found in Jackson’s body until the completion of the drugs tests which can take up to six weeks to complete.

But Harvey did say the coroner was aware Jackson was taking some prescription medication.

“There was no external trauma or foul play,” said Harvey at a press conference outside the County Coroner’s office in Boyle City,Los Angeles. “We knew he was taking some prescription medication.”

His comments came as police in Los Angeles were preparing to interview a doctor to establish whether Jackson took a strong painkilling drug shortly before he suffered a fatal heart attack.

Detectives confirmed their intention to question the singer’s personal physician, amid reports that Jackson was already dead by the time paramedics arrived on the scene on Thursday.

Reports in the US suggested Jackson had stopped breathing after taking an injection of the prescription drug Demerol, a commercial name for pethidine, which can cause cardiac arrest if too large a dose is given.

The Jackson family’s lawyer said he believed “overmedication” may have been to blame for the pop legend’s death at the age of 50, adding that he was prepared to “name names” of those who allegedly “enabled” his drug use if a post-mortem examination showed that drugs had brought on the heart attack.

Police are treating Jackson’s home as a potential crime scene, sealing off the room in which he collapsed. A police spokesman said prescription drugs had been found inside the house.

Harvey said Jackson’s body can be released to the family from 6pm pacific time yesterday (9am, Saturday, Malaysian time), but as yet no one has applied to collect the body. Harvey said the Los Angeles Police Department had requested a “security hold” on the death to restrict the amount of information that is released until the final autopsy report is made public.

He said the extra tests would include neural and pulmonary tests. Harvey said Jackson was pronounced dead in the hospital emergency room. A death certificate has yet to be signed.

Officials from the Coroner’s office met with members of the Jackson privately before holding the press conference.

Dr Joshua Perper, the coroner who investigated the death of Anna Nicole Smith said the need for extra tests showed that drugs may have been involved.

A BMW car belonging to the doctor was one of two vehicles towed away from Jackson’s rented house.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery and Homicide Unit, which is conducting the investigation, said: “The car belonged to Mr Jackson’s personal physician.

“It was impounded as police have been unable to interview him and the car could contain medication or other evidence for the coroner.”

The police spokesman would not confirm the name of the doctor being sought for questioning, but reports last night suggested he had made contact with detectives.

The Los Angeles-based celebrity website, which first broke the news of the singer’s death, quoted an unnamed member of Jackson’s family as saying he was injected with Demerol at 11.30am, on Thursday local time (2.30am, Friday), more than 50 minutes before an emergency 911 call was made from the house. The website claimed there was evidence that someone had been performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for “quite some time”.

A recording of the 911 call released last night began with an unidentified man saying: “I need an ambulance as soon as possible . . . we have a gentleman here that needs help, he has stopped breathing. We’re trying to pump him but he’s not breathing.”

The caller, who says the patient is 50 but does not name him, is asked whether anyone saw what happened.

“We have a personal doctor here,” he replies. “The doctor is the only one who was here.”

Police are anxious to take statements from everyone who was at Jackson’s rented home in the exclusive Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles, which was once owned by Sir Sean Connery.

Reports have been circulating for years that Jackson was addicted to several prescription drugs, including Demerol and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

The Jackson family lawyer, Brian Oxman, compared Jackson’s death to that of Anna Nicole Smith, the former Playboy model who was found dead two years ago at a hotel in Florida, with an overdose of prescription drugs blamed for her death. Her boyfriend and a doctor are awaiting trial on charges of illegally supplying prescription drugs.

Oxman said: “I warned against this situation. I thought his problem was severe. I made reference to what happened to Anna Nicole Smith, but this exceeded it in severity. I warned everyone, and lo and behold, here we are. I don’t know what caused his death. But I feared this day, and here we are.”

Oxman, who was at the UCLA hospital with the Jackson family when he died, said Jackson first started taking pain medication after his hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in the early 1980s. The drugs became a regular part of his life, Oxman said, when Jackson later fell off a stage and suffered a broken leg and a cracked vertebra.

President Obama added his voice to the tributes to Jackson yesterday. A White House spokesman said the President thought Jackson was a “spectacular” performer and a “music icon” but thought aspects of his life were “tragic”.

Source : Daily Telegraph

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