University of Minnesota Stonewalling Psychiatrists’ Gross Medical Misconduct

dan_markingson-mom.jpgBackground: In November 2003, a court ordered independent assessment confirmed that Dan was psychotic, “lacked capacity to make decisions regarding neuroleptic medication. ”  Instead of acute standard care at the hospital, Dan was enrolled into a commercial, market promotion drug trial by psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota who coerced Dan with the threat of involuntary commitment—i.e, incarceration—to get him to agree to be a subject in AstraZeneca’s Seroquel trial. The psychiatrists and the University had significant financial interests in signing up patients as subjects.  

Dan was enrolled over the objections of his mother, Mary Weiss, and his mental condition quickly worsened into acute paranoid psychosis.  For months Mary tried desperately to get her only son out of the dangerous experiment, warning the psychiatrists that Dan’s condition was deteriorating and that he was in danger of killing himself.

The psychiatrists, Dr. Stephen Olson and Dr. Charles Schulz, put their financial interests above the life of a patient in their care. The psychiatrists refused to listen to Mary Weiss’ pleas to withdraw her only son from the trial that clearly endangered his life. On May 8, 2004, Dan committed suicide by mutilating himself with a box cutter, so violently he nearly decapitated himself. http://markingson.blogspot.com/   No one has been held accountable!

  stephen_olson_md.jpg More recently, evidence of misconduct and serious privacy violations in psychiatric studies at the university have emerged, suggesting that other research subjects may have died or suffered serious injuries, or that they have been mistreated in other ways. Eight bioethicists at the University of Minnesota itself have called for an external investigation, yet the university still refuses. http://www.scribd.com/doc/49659724/U-of-M-Board-of-Regents-Markingson-Letter charles_schulz_md.jpg

I urge everyone who cares about the holding unethical  physicians who endanger patients’ lives accountable , to sign the petition as well. I have just signed a petition urging Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota to appoint an independent, external panel of experts to conduct an investigation into gross medical research and clinical care misconduct by psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota.http://chn.ge/13TtenX

For in-depth coverage, read Carl Elliott’s article, “Making a Killing” in Mother Jones.   

Just last week, an article about the Markingson Case was published on blog of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School , calling for an investigation of the University of Minnesota’s handling of this case.

For the past nine years Mary and her friend Mike Howard have tried unsuccessfully to have the University of Minnesota and its psychiatrists held accountable for Dan’s death. But Mary’s lawsuit against the university was dismissed on a technicality in 2009, and the university used legal threats to force her to give up her right of appeal.

Given the repeated failure of university officials to act in good faith, Mary and Mike have organized a petition to the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, asking him to appoint an independent, external panel of experts to investigate ethical wrongdoing in psychiatric research at the University of Minnesota, including the circumstances surrounding Dan’s death.

Dan Markingson’s  case has garnered outrage. The growing list of prominent physicians, bioethicists, health law specialists, medical humanities faculty,  and concerned citizens have joined the call for an investigation by signing the petition headed by Jerome Kassirer, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Peter Gotzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Center.  
See partial list of petition signers 

Please sign the petition urging Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota to appoint an independent, external panel of experts to conduct an investigation into gross medical research and clinical care misconduct by psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota.
http://chn.ge/13TtenX 

 See, Mary Weiss in video clip, ‘They need to be held accountable"– from new documentary: Off Label

 

Vera Sharav