Will Conrad Murray ever treat another patient?

Posted at 6:52 PM, Oct 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-28 20:54:04-04
By Amanda Sloane

(CNN) — Conrad Murray is out of the Los Angeles County jail, and his lawyer says he wants to return to seeing patients. But will the man convicted of causing the death of the King of Pop in 2009 be allowed to practice medicine again?

Before his 2011 involuntary manslaughter conviction in Michael Jackson’s death, Murray was licensed to practice in Nevada, California and Texas. None of those licenses is valid now.

Murray’s California medical license was suspended after his arrest. He now has an accusation of gross negligence filed against him by the state to the Medical Board of California. The board’s public information officer told HLN the status of Murray’s California license depends on the outcome of his negligence hearing, which hasn’t been scheduled.

Murray never had his own practice in California. His opened his first office, Global Cardiovascular Associates, in Las Vegas in 2000.

After Jackson’s death, the medical board in Nevada put a restriction on Murray’s license that kept him from prescribing anesthetics such as propofol — the one found in the pop star’s system the day he died. Murray’s license in that state expired on June 30, 2011.

If Murray wants to practice in Nevada again, he’ll have to make a new application, according to Douglas Cooper, executive director of the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.

He tells HLN that Murray would likely have to appear before the full medical board of examiners after submitting his application. It would be up to those board members, according to Cooper, to decide whether to grant Murray a license in their state.

When Murray was arrested for Jackson’s death, he had already closed his Nevada practice because of death threats and financial problems. But he was still practicing out of his Houston office. This location, called the Acres Home Heart and Vascular Institute, opened in 2006. Murray will likely return to Houston to live, so this license may be a particularly important one for him to reinstate.

HLN’s efforts to contact the the Texas Medical Board by telephone Monday were unsuccessful, but the board’s records indicate that Murray’s license was revoked on August 30. Murray had 20 days to file for a hearing on the matter, which he did, on September 19. His request for that hearing was denied on October 22.

Attorneys in Texas who defend physicians such as Murray say he still has a chance — albeit a slim one — at practicing again in the state.

“I think the chances right now are pretty low,” attorney Brian Tew told HLN. Tew, who also has a medical degree, and his law partner, say they represent doctors in about 50 cases involving licensing each year. “But it’s not going to prevent him from applying. And it’s not going to prevent him from being able to go through the process.”

That process involves Murray submitting a new application for a Texas medical license within a year from when his old license was revoked, according to Tew’s partner, Mark Martyn.

Martyn believes that, based on past cases he has seen, Murray will be turned down for a new license — at least initially. For Murray to even have a chance, according to Tew, he has to show the licensing board that he has kept up on his medical knowledge, for starters.

“He’s going to have to show a lot of contrition — a lot of contrition,” said Tew.

This could be a major sticking point for Murray, who has appeared to remain unremorseful during his two years in jail.

“My entire approach may not have been an orthodox approach, but my intentions were good,” Murray told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview in April.

One thing that may work in Murray’s favor is a decision made earlier this month in the Jackson family’s wrongful death lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live. A jury found that AEG Live wasn’t liable in his death because, even though the company hired Murray, Murray was competent when acting as Jackson’s personal physician.

Murray also has never had a malpractice lawsuit filed against him, and the patients who testified during his involuntary manslaughter trial had nothing but praise for him as a physician.

But even if Murray gets reinstated, it’s possible he’ll still have a tough time practicing because of restrictions — such as his former Nevada restriction on prescribing anesthetics — on what he can and can’t do.

“They’re going to make it so difficult for him to ever practice that he might as well try and do something else,” said Louis Leichter, a Texas attorney who says he has defended more than 2,000 cases involving physicians trying to get their licenses back.

Leichter has seen clients go on to use their medical knowledge in different careers.

“It depends on the resiliency of the individual,” Leichter said. “Some people just can’t make it.”

Wherever Murray ends up working, he may still have a mountain of bills to pay. Murray has had a history of financial troubles and has owed hundreds of thousands of dollars related to unpaid bills, child support payments and defaults on educational loans.

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