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Thursday, November 14, 2013


How many of you know anything about propofol?  If you kept up with the legal tribulations of Michael Jackson, you learned that propofol probably, more than anything else, killed him.

There was an almost parallel life-or-death struggle faced by my wife at that same time 52 months ago.  Here is a quote from the Huffington Post, published the day after she passed away:

She was on nearly constant intravenous feed of Heparin and Propofol for much of this period. There remains, of course, the Heparin (blood thinner) controversy, where 82 died a couple of years ago from what is still not confirmed, but is suspected to be contaminated samples from China containing chondroitin sulfate. Doubly worse for Pearl is that sometimes this compound comes from crustacean shells, and she is allergic to crab, lobster, etc. Particularly unnerving was that Michael Jackson might have died from Propofol (a sedative).

Then recently I read that the State of Missouri intended to use PROPOFOL as the lethal injection for executions!  I'm a biochemical engineer, I know that almost anything can kill.  If you mix an ounce of vodka in orange juice, that's Mimosa, a drink I had over the weekend in DC.  However, if you swallowed a whole bottle of vodka, you'll die.  So, clearly, they will intravenously feed a lot more propofol into the victim.  Yet, it was definitely shocking to read that my wife could have died from what is being considered by the justice enforcement community to execute criminals. Propofol is medically administered 50 million times annually in the U.S.  Scarily enough, there is recreational use, for Propofol produces mild euphoria.   

In any case, the European Union threatened to limit exports of this drug (company, AstraZeneca, is British-Swedish, and Fresenius Kabi from Germany is the largest maker), so Governor Jay Nixon cancelled the use of this lethal injection.  Companies selling these sedatives do not want to become associated with organized death, just "accidental" ones.


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