Monday, December 6, 2010

Bioethicists ask U of M Regents to appoint outside panel to review ethics of 2004 Dan Markingson case


From MinnPost:

Eight University of Minnesota bioethicists have sent a letter to the university’s Board of Regents, asking it to appoint an outside panel of experts to investigate the ethical issues raised by the case of Dan Markingson, a young man who committed suicide in 2004 while enrolled in a psychiatric research study at the U of M.
“There are a number of unresolved concerns, and I think it’s time there was an outside assessment,” said Leigh Turner, an associate professor in the Center for Bioethics, the School of Public Health and the College of Pharmacy, in a phone interview last week.

Student representatives to the Board of Regents had also intended to raise the issue of conflicts of interest at the U of M — both in the Markingson case and in the university’s handling of the “Troubled Waters” documentary — in a report to the full board this week. Last week, however, the board’s staff objected to “stylistic” concerns about that section of the students’ report, and it has been taken out of the final document that will be presented to the Board on Friday.

Turner said he's hopeful that the Board of Regents will appoint a panel of experts to do an independent investigation of the Markingson case. “I can understand a sense of reluctance or unwillingness to revisit it and see what was done and why — and what could have been done better,” he said. But the university must resist the temptation to “sweep this under the rug,” he added.

A website with a link to the letter to the Board of Regents and other documents can be found here. You can read Elliott’s Mother Jones article about the Markingson case here. (Dan Markingson's story is also featured in Elliott's most recent book, "White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine.") The U of M’s response to the Mother Jones piece can be found here.


Added Later:  
Other news organizations have also picked up on the  faculty letter to the Board of Regents:

Dan Markingson's 2004 suicide: U of M faculty seek investigation

Minneapolis City Pages (blog) - Andy Mannix - ‎5 hours ago‎
He feared evil spirits were after him. He described experiences with aliens in his apartment. ...

University of Minnesota profs demand investigation of drug trial

MedCity News - ‎3 hours ago‎
A group of University of Minnesota professors want the Board of Regents to investigate the suicide of a patient enrolled in a university-run drug study. ...

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