More details this morning in the Propofol Rape Case of Dr. Jon Norberg in Fargo, ND. The victim, his wife, Alonna Norberg who is also a physician, was back on the stand.
During cross examination Mrs. Norberg said her husband never discussed with her using propofol to treat her chronic pain condition. She acknowledged that he did mention Diprivan, which is the brand name of propofol, but asserted that she did not know that the two drugs were the same. Mrs. Norberg had previously testified that she would never have consented to the use of propofol and once her doctor informed her in September of 2010 that Diprivan and propofol were the same thing, she had told her husband she refused to have him administer it any longer. To that point he had given her the drug 3 times since July of the same year.
One very important detailed we learned today is that Alonna Norberg had an intravenous port indwelling that was inserted into her chest. Unfortunately it is not yet clear to Law Med whether this was a port which was surgically implanted under the skin, in which case she would have felt a needle pinch every time she was injected, or if it was an external port with the catheter inserted through the skin into a vein in which case she would not have felt anything while being injected. If the latter it certainly answers a burning question many have had: How is it that Mrs. Norberg did not wake up when her husband was drugging her with an IV medication?
Defense attorney Robert Hoy asked her about medical journal articles that Jon Norberg had brought home regarding research into the use of propofol for pain management. Propofol is a potent sedative/anesthetic and is not approved for, or commonly used for the treatment of chronic pain. She recalled that he threw a paper across the bed at her and that it landed on the floor, but she said she never read it.
Hoy pressed her on the issue since the articles would have used the generic name “propofol” in referring to the drug. “You never once got curious enough to go read the articles that he brought home?” Hoy asked. “No, sorry, Mr. Hoy, I loved him. I thought he was the best surgeon in the world and trusted him. I was sick. I was so sick. I don’t need to go read a journal article. … I’m just saying I trusted him. No, I’m sorry, I didn’t go look at the journal articles. I wish I would have, ’cause then I would have figured out that propofol is Diprivan.”
Alonna Norberg is a pediatric emergency medicine physician, and most in her field would be familiar with the drug name Diprivan, and certainly very familiar with the unique milky white appearance it has.
The defense has argued that Alonna Norberg made up the allegations against her husband because she wanted custody of their children as part of a divorce and that she knew she wouldn’t be given custody because of her dependency on prescription painkillers and other issues. Hoy took aim at her credibility, questioning her about her psychiatric issues and at one point showing the jury a list titled “current medications” with 40 drugs on it, including pain and sleep medications.
Norberg broke into tears on the witness stand today as Hoy had her read aloud from a card she gave her husband for their 14th wedding anniversary in May 2010, well before the alleged incidents. “I need to fight for you. I don’t want you to leave me and I won’t lose my children. Please stick with me if you can. I will try harder each day,” she said, crying.
View our new Norberg Trial page for all of our related articles on the case HERE.
, rape case
, pain management