LOS ANGELES — The paramedic who answered the emergency call to the Holmby Hills mansion where Michael Jackson lived said that the condition of the singer resembled that of a cancer patient who had come home to die.
Richard Senneff testified Tuesday that Jackson’s body was pale and so underweight his ribs were showing.
“To me, he looked like someone who was at the end stage of a long disease process,” said Senneff, the lead-off witness in a wrongful death suit against concert promoter and entertainment giant AEG.
The paramedic told jurors he noticed oxygen tanks, an IV pole and an IV bag in the room, along with Dr. Conrad Murray, who he said told him that he was a cardiologist.
“Even in Bel-Air it’s unusual to have the personal physician at the house,” Senneff testified.
The wrongful death suit against AEG was filed by the singer’s mother, Katherine, and his three children. The suit accuses AEG of pushing Jackson beyond his limits and being responsible for hiring and controlling Murray. Jackson was preparing for a series of comeback concerts at the time of his death.
AEG’s attorneys have countered that it was Jackson who brought in Murray.
Senneff testified Tuesday that Station 71 in Bel-Air had received the emergency call at 12:22 p.m. and he arrived at Jackson’s home three minutes later. The ambulance and a fire engine that responded were waved through the gates and parked in front of the house.
Once in the house, Senneff said, he was “galloping” up the stairs.
When he arrived at Jackson’s bedroom, he said he saw Murray near the nightstand with a security guard, and Jackson lying on the bed.
Because of the pop star’s poor condition, Senneff said he asked Murray if Jackson had a “do not resuscitate” order.
“Dr. Murray loked at me blankly at first,” Senneff testified. Then the doctor said, “No, no, this just happened.”
He said Murray was “frantic. He was sweating. He was very pale.”
Senneff said Murray told him he was treating the patient for dehydration and exhaustion and said Jackson was not taking any medication.
“It just looked a lot more complicated than dehydration and exhaustion,” Senneff testified.
When he asked Murray when the emergency had happened, he said Murray told him: “Just this minute. Right when I called you.”
But when Senneff checked Jackson, he said he could find no pulse. He testified that Jackson’s eyes were dilated and dry, his skin cool, and his lips a faint blue – a sign the singer had been dead as long as an hour.
“To us it didn’t make sense that it had just happened,” Senneff said.
Jackson’s mother and brother Randy left the courtroom before Senneff testified.