Friday, February 25, 2005

NOW JACKSON ACCUSED OF KILLING AN OLD LADY: The family of Manuela Gomez Ruiz are linking Michael Jackson's "illness" to the death of the 74 year old. Although Emergency Room staff had decided Jackson was fit enough to go home when he arrived on February 15th, Manuela was later moved from the primary trauma room to make room for Jacko. As she was moved, she had to be taken off a machine ventilator, and until a new room was found for her, her breathing had to be assisted by a hand pump. They wouldn't have done that to the Pope, would they? Ruiz went on to have two further heart attacks during the day, and died later. Her family, naturally, aren't pleased:

Maria Elena Ortiz, the ailing woman's daughter, said she was in the room when Jackson came in. She was also present when her mother was moved and objected.

"Why does she have to be moved if he's coming in for a stomach flu?" Ortiz said. "I said, 'My mother just had a heart attack and I think it's more critical than a stomach flu.' They didn't say anything."

No one knows if moving Ruiz added to her trauma, but family members said they were told her heart was functioning at 30 percent and other organs were failing. But they say the chaos caused by Jackson's arrival distracted staff, and robbed them of precious time with their mother and grandmother as she died.

When Ruiz was moved to a smaller room, the family says equipment had to be crammed into the room. They also were limited to two visitors at a time. Once those visitors were in the room they could not leave and let other family members in because the hospital restricted movement in the hallways after Jackson arrived, the family says.

"This was the last time we might be able to talk with our grandma. They took that from us," said Marcos Meraz, one of Ruiz's grandsons.

The family are suing Jackson and the hospital, suggesting that someone who apparently had stomach flu shouldn't have been given priority over a heart attack case.

Jackson's publicist isn't happy, either; he's angry that ABC are covering the story:

"Michael Jackson sends his condolences to the family of the deceased. However, it is outrageous that Michael Jackson's name would be invoked into a situation of which he had no authority or control. It appears that ABC is deliberate in its attempt to circumvent Michael Jackson from receiving a fair trial."

And let's not forget, although he walked in and ER staff thought he was well enough to go home as soon as he arrived, Jacko was really ill. He was kept in the hospital, and if you look here at his arrival at court on Tuesday when he'd just got well enough to play out again, you can see just how ill he was: