American Scene

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CALIFORNIA

Choreographer says Jackson looked ill

LOS ANGELES | A choreographer who worked with Michael Jackson on his ill-fated concert tour told a judge Tuesday he clashed with Jackson’s doctor and others over the superstar’s health six days before Jackson died.

Choreographer Kenny Ortega testified that he was summoned to Jackson’s home a day after letting the superstar skip rehearsal because he seemed sick and out of shape.

“It was scary,” Mr. Ortega said. “I said, ‘Michael, is this the best place for you to be or do you want to go home and be with your family?’ He said, ‘Would you be OK with that?’ I said, ‘OK,’ and he left.”

The next day, Dr. Conrad Murray and others suggested Jackson should not have been sent home and told the choreographer he was not the singer’s doctor, Mr. Ortega testified.

The testimony came during a preliminary hearing to determine whether Dr. Murray, the singer’s personal physician, will be tried on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. He is alleged to have given Jackson a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and other sedatives in the bedroom of the performer’s rented mansion.

ILLINOIS

Many defibrillators in wrong patients

CHICAGO | One in five heart defibrillators may be implanted for questionable reasons without solid evidence that the devices will help, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis released in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

Implanted defibrillators shock the heart back into a normal rhythm when it starts beating irregularly. They can prevent sudden death in people with advanced heart failure, but researchers haven’t found a benefit for other patients.

Guidelines don’t recommend them for people newly diagnosed with heart failure, those who have had recent heart attacks or bypass surgery or those so sick that they have very limited life expectancies.

However, the new study, which examined nearly four years of national data, found 22 percent of the implant surgeries were in patients who fit one of those categories.

LOUISIANA

Another bird flock killed en masse

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