LOS ANGELES (AP) — A doctor who gave his daughter hundreds of at-home doses of the powerful drug that killed Michael Jackson has had his license suspended, according to an order filed Thursday by the Medical Board of California.
Dr. Robert Markman of Northridge, a retired anesthesiologist, is barred from practicing medicine pending a full administrative determination from the state's licensing agency, the board said.
Markman is accused of administering the anesthetic propofol about 500 times in five years to his daughter, identified as L.M., in her home, according to the order.
The drug was given for an unspecified genital pain for which she'd unsuccessfully sought help from top hospitals around the country, including the Stanford Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai, according to the order.
"She underwent a number of treatments that included large doses of opioids with acetaminophen and aspirin," but the treatments resulted in limited pain relief, and Markman worried about kidney and liver damage, according to the order.
As a result, Markman began treating L.M. with propofol in 2007 for chronic pain relief — an "off label" or unapproved use of the drug — in lower doses than typically used for sedation.
L.M. has survived the treatments and, according to the order, Markman has testified she "has not experienced any adverse consequences to the propofol infusions and that propofol has provided her the longest lasting pain relief to date."
Michael Jackson died of an overdose of the powerful drug in June 2009. His doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering propofol to the singer as a sleep medication.
An attorney for Markman, Mitchell Green, told the Los Angeles Times that the daughter had suffered excruciating pain for 17 years before her father began administering the treatments.
"The only relief she ever received was from her father, who is an anesthesiologist who has made what is, by all accounts, a breakthrough," Green told the Times.
Green did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.
The medical efficacy of propofol in this case remains to be argued, but witnesses brought by the state and by Markman's defense agreed on one thing: Propofol shouldn't be used in the home.
Witnesses on both sides said the drug poses enough of a danger that it should be administered only in a facility where its effects can be closely monitored, according to the order.
The state alleges the home itself was "filthy, with rotting food sitting on cabinets in the treatment area, and odors emanating from dirt and two dogs," according to the order. Markman disputed the characterization, saying the home is cluttered and has dog odors but is not dirty.
Markman has been ordered by the state to do no act for which a doctor's license is required, and he is barred from providing any treatment or medication to his daughter. Her care must be transferred to another doctor, according to the board's order.
- Michael Jackson