The Passing of Michael Jackson and the Investigation

When beginning Dr. Johnson’s course of Nursing Pharmacology course on July 6, 2009, the sudden death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009 has had the world’s attention; most definitely mine for a few reasons. My immediate reaction when hearing the news of his death was an overdose of medications, since it was rumored he was addicted to pain drugs for a number of years. Given that I am 45 years old, grew up with Michael Jackson’s music, watching his face physically change throughout the years and then hearing of his child abuse allegations, I wondered what is the price of success fame? In the medical professions, should ethics be compromised for the same reasons? Is our society being overmedicated daily? How many nurses witness this practice? Within the first chapter of our textbook, Lehne stated, "Pharmacology can be defined as the study of drugs and their interactions with living systems" (Pg. 1). With the increase in medication’s use as a "fix" to relieve emotional and physical pain, it becomes all the more important to understand, educate and emphasize the potential side effects to all patients. During my first semester, the nursing process was thoroughly discussed which included assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. After Michael Jackson’s many plastic surgeries on his face, had nurses witnessed and assessed his ability to cope with pain? Given his fame, were there only a select few who cared for him? As a nursing student, my assessment from afar of Michael Jackson’s demise is that many health care providers likely missed the boat with regard to his inability to understand his human vulnerability and the effect that abusive family life left on him. The outcome for Michael and many others from situations such as this is dependency on drugs, alcohol and unusual sexual behavior. Building Michael’s self-esteem seemed to stem from his deep desire to succeed as the very best in the music industry, but at what costs? Being on stage and the center of attention versus speaking one-on-one with a reporter often reflected a split personality. Though many reports suggested overuse of medication in his past (with family often trying to help), his continued denial of the effects that extensive use of pain killers have on one’s body most likely caused his death. Using all the nursing tactics, particularly monitoring such a superstar, would be no easy task. In spite of his perceived need, did Jackson require more medical and psychological attention than what he had received? However, do today’s doctors and nurses understand how to treat patients with a history of abusive relationships and what that might do to one’s self-esteem? It was reported in the media that one of Michael Jackson’s former housekeepers told law enforcement that the singer was often in such bad shape from drugs his eyes would roll back in his head. If true, was it ever reported and medically documented? Anyone who understands the tactics of manipulation, isolation, power and control, could possibly have tackled alternative ways for this performer to find inner happiness, without drugs. Lehne stated, "The nurse must know the probable consequences of the interaction between drug and patient" (Pg. 5). Considering Michael Jackson had so many doctor visits, I would have to assume his interaction with nurses was also extensive over his lifetime. It is my belief that forensic nursing should be incorporated with education on domestic violence. Michael Jackson, "The King of Pop" represented a man so extraordinary in talent, yet so sadly misunderstood. The correlation between medication, mental health issues, and patient communication require much more research. Lehne also noted in the first chapter, "There is no such thing as a safe drug" (Pg. 2). It seems that the medical community has a long way to go with regard to better monitoring and controlling medication prescriptions and communicating their effectiveness (positive or negative) more efficiently. References Lehne, R. A. (2007). Pharmacology for Nursing Care (Sixth Edition). Pgs. 1-5.

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