Michael Jackson doctor returns to Houston clinic

November 23, 2009 4:25:14 PM PST
Michael Jackson's doctor returned to work at his Houston medical clinic on Monday for the first time since the pop star's death and his patients welcomed him back without reservation. Dr. Conrad Murray was greeted by several patients and the pastor of his church when he arrived at the Armstrong Medical Clinic. One church member held up a handwritten sign that read "Welcome Back."

Patients later praised Murray's work as a cardiologist and called him a community role model, saying they have no concerns about being treated by the man under investigation in Jackson's June 25 death.

The doctor has been the focus of a Los Angeles police homicide investigation since telling investigators he administered propofol, a powerful operating room anesthetic, to Jackson to help the pop star sleep. The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled Jackson's death a homicide, caused primarily by propofol and another sedative.

Murray, who was with Jackson when the 50-year-old singer died, has not been charged with a crime.

"He's a good doctor, he's a kind man," Ransom Craddock, 81, said as he sat outside the clinic, a nondescript brown brick building next to a supermarket in a lower-income area of north Houston. "We all in this community welcome him back. We need him in this community."

Ruby Mosley praised Murray for providing care to low-income patients and said she believes very little about what the media has reported about his possible role in Jackson's death.

"I can't tell you the joy. We were proud to see him," Mosley, 80, said of the visit she and a group of patients had with Murray at the clinic on Friday. "I see him as a physician and a friend."

Murray, who was scheduled to see six patients on Monday, didn't speak with reporters before entering the clinic.

But on Sunday, while attending services at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Murray stood before parishioners and told them he returned to serve his community.

Murray has been primarily living in Las Vegas, where he also has a clinic. His attorney, Edward Chernoff, said the cardiologist has been unable to earn a living since Jackson's death.

"His legal fees are enormous and his debts have mounted to the point where it is unclear whether he will be able to keep his house or support his family," Chernoff said. "His intentions are to attend to these patients who have continued to support him, despite the attention and despite the threats."

Murray, who wore sunglasses as he spoke to parishioners on Sunday, did not mention Jackson or the investigation directly, only saying "It appears I was at the wrong place at the wrong time" and "I know what trouble is."

Murray, licensed in Nevada, Texas and California, was hired to be Jackson's personal physician during a world tour.

Authorities searched Murray's Houston clinic and a rented storage unit on July 22 and conducted searches later at Murray's home and office in Las Vegas, at properties in Los Angeles and at a Las Vegas pharmacy where police say Murray bought five 100-milliliter bottles of propofol.

Chernoff said Murray has been followed and threatened since Jackson died and felt he had to close his Las Vegas office because patients were being harassed as they came and went. Chernoff said Murray will eventually reopen that office.


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