Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Mouthpiece Dan Wolter

declines to make statement in

typical classless fashion...

Eight bioethicists at the University of Minnesota are charging that their own institution has committed an "alarming series of ethical violations" in a clinical trial where a young man committed suicide in 2004. The eight, who include roughly half of the university's bioethics core faculty members, yesterday released a letter to the university's Board of Regents, asking the board to set up an external investigation into the death of Daniel Markingson. He committed suicide violently while enrolled in a trial of antipsychotic medications through the university's psychiatry department. The letter alleges that his death wasn't adequately investigated earlier.
"Bioethicists should not ignore disaster in their own backyard," says Mary Faith Marshall, one of the signers. Marshall came to the University of Minnesota in 2005 after serving in the federal bioethics policy arena. Among other things, she chaired a committee investigating the 1999 death of 19-year-old Jesse Gelsinger in a gene therapy experiment at the University of Pennsylvania.  
Asked whether the university had a response to the letter, spokesperson Daniel Wolter wrote in an email: "There isn't any additional statement at this point as there isn't really anything new beyond Professor Elliott repackaging his position in new and different formats." The university's general counsel was not available to discuss the case before ScienceInsider's deadline.

After hearing Wolter's comment, Marshall said: "I still say, when a research subject dies in one of your studies, the public and the private message should be, 'We are really sorry about this and we are going to do whatever we can do to make sure this never happens again.' "

Mr. Wolter, formerly a flack for GOP governor Pawlenty, is apparently a graduate of the Tony Sutton school of Public Relations.

Sad performance, Mr. Wolter.  And sad that this man is the spokesperson for the University of Minnesota.  Hopefully this will change in the new administration.  Hopefully a lot of things will change. 


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