Sunday, November 24, 2013

Comments on Strib piece: "Send in the wackos..."

Captain, we have a problem...

I've posted a piece on the Markingson case on the Star-Tribune's Community Voices website.

Comments are starting to be posted and I'll give some examples below:

I first saw the piece on Fox last week and was just appalled by the response from the University and especially the comments from the study coordinator. The corrective action she received was a slap on the wrist for her unethical and actually criminal actions. I also found it very misleading on the University's part to claim they've been dealing with this case for almost a decade and there's nothing new. I seriously doubt the UMN would ever have done anything if this poor man's mother had not attempted to hold them accountable. From the records available on-line, that didn't happen until 2008. I would say there is a definite credibility issue with the University.

This case defies logic as to why the University has never simply produced all the documentation that they claim to possess that would provide the credibility that seems to be lacking from all their denial of fault statements. Anyone can view the documents that are now posted that clearly state the Board of Social Work action against the study coordinator, the letter from the Attorney General's Office stating they never investigated this man's death, the Board of Medical Practice letter that states they never investigated the University. What's even more troubling is the fact this man was recruited while being hospitalized at Fairview-Riverside Hospital, the same hospital that was named as having been involved with violating patients privacy rights, and from the Fox report at least one other patient was being harassed the same way.

I think it's high time the state legislators take a serious look into the clinical study practices of the psychiatry department at the University of Minnesota, from approval of nothing but me-too drugs studies, or antipsychotics for "public speaking," or how patients are being recruited or coerced from locked wards, and is the law passed that was named after Dan Markingson being abused at Fairview Riverside and by the research psychiatrists? I can't help but wonder if the PR mouth at the University still has his job after the remark he made regarding Dr. Stone.

It's obvious from the standpoint of message delivered in the Fox 9 report that this scandal is not just simply going to fade away, contrary to the wishes of the University. The comical remark that its been so many years now and we don't care to deal with it says everything that needs to be said concerning the integrity of the University. What isn't clear to me is whether the University really believes the yarns they've spun, or if they have repeated them so often now that there is no dignified way to retract them. As a resident of this state and a U-MN alum, I'm totally ashamed of how the University has handled this entire episode, can't help but think there are many more Dan Markingson's that are yet to be accounted for, and there is a day of reckoning at hand for the University and especially the psychiatry researchers that prey on human subjects.

I'm not typically a Fox News fan, but the report they did regarding this terrible happening was very well presented and clearly indicated that there is a whole lot more to this story and others than the University is willing to admit. I agree with the comment that the U cannot at this point retract or change anything they've said or done and still save face, their only option is to continue the charade of falsehoods and denials and try to browbeat the very people trying to expose the wrongdoings. The psychiatry department at the University of Minnesota has an ugly reputation as far a clinical trial research goes. Garfinkel, Abuzzahab to name just a few, and of course the Strib as well as the Pioneer Press did pieces on Schulz and his AstraZeneca ties and his Haldol/Seroquel presentation that was exposed as being inaccurate and favoring the sponsor's drug Seroquel. Pretty shameful on the part of the University to never have come clean on anything related to psychiatric research without being subpoenaed or some other legal action.

I thought the Fox report to be highly credible and the University's response to be anything but. Exactly what in the Fox piece wasn't reported correctly or accurately ? Seems like more of the same from the University on anything to do with psychiatric research. Violating human subjects rights has never been an obstacle that the University hasn't been able to overcome. Our family hopes the University's reputation never recovers from the Markingson scandal, and for the Dean of the Medical School to stay the course with denials is absolutely pathetic. I also agree with the PR rep at the University should be fired immediately.

Maybe Lori Swanson and her office needs to investigate this case much like they did Fairview and all the issues surrounding harassing patients over medical bills illegally, then the U-Minnesota would have a leg to stand-on with all their claims of being investigated and cleared. The University has become a complete embarrassment over the Markingson case and should be completely ashamed of themselves. Dr. Aaron Friedman is no better than his predecessor, a complete fraud.

It seems to me that Dr. Aaron Friedman's saying the Fox report was "full of inaccuracies and unsubstantiated claims," was speaking about how he and the University have handled this scandal, and not about the allegations made in the report. I'm no attorney, but anyone with half-a-brain can recognize the fact that the University's own general counsel investigating the UMN is liken to the fox guarding the hen house. Absurd to perpetuate the same defense without providing proof of ever having actually done anything internal. Simply stating we have nothing to hide and have been cleared of any wrongdoing isn't the same as providing proof of those statements. The 'wacko' comment was unbelievably inappropriate and unprofessional but right on cue as far as the University has handled this scandal apparently. It certainly appears this mans death and subsequent years of dealing with the aftermath only continue because the University has refused to accept any responsibility for any involvement and that is just ludicrous. At this point I would encourage anyone having any mental health issues with themselves or friends or family go anywhere but the University of Minnesota for help.

I concur with all the statements posted, that the news report was fair and accurate and the University's response immature and substandard. Having personally heard some of the psychiatry department researchers speak at different functions, it's no wonder there is a credibility issue at the University. The statement from the medical dean was par for the course, and thank goodness he's moving on. The University desperately needs to retrain their public relations outlet as the comment about a fellow research doctor who's written a book about conducting clinical trials was so amateurish and rude it is almost unbelievable. It's no wonder the disciplined study coordinator feels secure in making the statements she made in the news report, it must be standard required behavior. The University's handling of the this whole scandal has embarrassed our state beyond repair. But, they could at least try and make amends. Probably not going to happen though until the other scandals hit the wire.


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