A nurse who tried to help Michael Jackson find sleep with vitamin infusions said the singer became convinced that propofol was the only cure for his insomnia.
Cherilyn Lee -- who specializes in holistic health care -- was called as a witness by AEG Live in its defense of the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother and children. But Jackson lawyers said they believe her testimony helped their case.
When she was shown a photo of Jackson six days before his death -- two months after she had last treated him -- she appeared shocked at his deterioration.
"Oh, my goodness," Lee said. "That's horrible!"
Lee testified Thursday that after Jackson awoke after just four hours of sleep after one of her treatments on April 19, 2009, he became "very agitated."
"He stood up on the bed and he looked at me and at 4:30 in the morning, it kind of scared me," Lee said. "It really startled me when he stared at me with his big brown eyes."
"I told you I cannot sleep all night," Lee said Jackson told her.
Jackson allegedly asked Lee, who had been treating him with vitamins since early February, to find an anesthesiologist who could put him to sleep him with the surgical anesthetic propofol.
Lee refused, warning him it was unsafe. She testified that she told Jackson that any doctor who would give him propofol at home didn't care about him and was just doing it for the money.
That April 19, 2009, session was Lee's last time with Jackson.
Just over two weeks later -- on May 6 -- an AEG Live executive wrote in an e-mail that it was a "done deal" that Dr. Conrad Murray was being hired for $150,000 a month to serve as Jackson's full-time physician.
Murray told investigators that Jackson was infused with propofol every night for two months to treat his insomnia. The last treatment killed the singer, according to the coroner.
Jackson's mother and three children are suing AEG Live, contending the concert promoter is liable for his death because it negligently hired, retained or supervised Murray.
AEG Live lawyers contend it was Jackson who chose and controlled Murray and their executives had no way of knowing about the dangerous treatments being given in the privacy of Jackson's bedroom.
Lee's testimony concluded the 18th week of the wrongful death trial, which will continue into September.
She had glowing words for Jackson, who would have turned 55 on Thursday. "I haven't really met anyone who was so caring and so giving," she said.
"After his passing, a young lady walked up to me at an event and she just stared crying," Lee said. "She said, 'I wouldn't be here today if Michael hadn't come to the hospital and paid for my brain surgeries and he didn't want anyone to know.'"
Although called as a witness by AEG Live, Lee attacked their lawyers' contention that Jackson was "doctor shopping" for drugs. "All he was doing was looking for the best doctor to help with his insomnia," Lee said. "It just breaks my heart for people to label someone as doctor shopping when they're only trying to find the best doctor to give them the best care."
Jackson hired Lee to find natural treatments for his insomnia, she said. She began treating Jackson in his Los Angeles home on February 1, 2009, days after he signed a three-year contract with AEG Live for a world tour, which would start with 50 shows in London to debut in July.
"My concern was that he was drinking Red Bulls," she said. He drank several cans of the energy drink during their first meeting. "I was thinking his tiredness and fatigue was related to that."
"He told me whatever you tell me I need to do, I will do it." He stopped drinking cases of Red Bull, replacing the energy drinks with fresh organic juices, she said.
Jackson "started to feel really great" and "looked healthier" after a month of her IV treatments "Myers Cocktails," an infusion of Vitamin C and other nutrients, she testified.
But he still couldn't sleep more than five hours a night and with rehearsals for his "This Is It" tour cranking up in April "he needed something a little more," she testified.
Jackson rejected her recommendation that he have a sleep specialist visit his home to study his insomnia or that he cut down the lights and music in his bedroom, she said.
Earlier testimony suggested that Jackson had already given up on Lee's methods and decided that propofol, which German doctors had used to treat his insomnia during a 1997 tour, could be his answer for rest.