Wednesday, April 29, 2015

For the Record: An open letter from the faculty of the U Psychiatry Department #Markingson

from the Star-Tribune:

Recently, research in our department has been the focus of in-depth examinations from an external review requested by the University of Minnesota Faculty Senate and the state legislative auditor. Both reports commented on broader university practices that need to be improved and requested changes specific to the Department of Psychiatry with regard to how we recruit and seek informed consent from potential participants in research studies. We are appreciative of the effort invested by the authors of both reports and welcome the opportunity to continue to improve as a result.
The University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry faculty and staff are dedicated to excellence in patient care, scholarship and educating future generations of physicians. We take this mission seriously and aspire to apply standards and practices to our work that will make the state of Minnesota proud. Our community is faced with the immense pain and suffering associated with mental illness. This pain affects individuals, their families, communities and treating providers. Our mandate and passion is to relieve the symptoms of mental illness, including those that lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, knowledge of the causes and means of relieving the symptoms associated with mental illness is still quite limited relative to other fields of medicine, and even with the best treatment currently available, we will lose some of those for whom we care.
We deeply believe that conducting sound scientific research is the way to increase knowledge about mental illness so that the associated pain and suffering can be decreased. We have incredible respect for our study participants and we are grateful for their generous decision to participate in research; without them, advances in patient care would not be possible. We are aware that research participation is never without risk and we are committed to doing everything we can to minimize those risks. We as researchers and clinicians recognize that the balance between the risks and benefits of research participation has significantly changed over the past decades and will continue to evolve in the future. Thus, we believe that the long-term protection of human subjects will involve ongoing conversations between researchers, clinicians, patients and the broader community. We are committed to being active participants in these conversations.
Toward that end, we are listening to and grateful for the guidance expressed in the reports and are moving swiftly toward implementing the recommended changes. As a faculty, we are determined to be open to examine issues such as consent and conflict of interest and to expand our perspective through open conversations with the broader community. In addition, we are aware of the stigma and marginalization associated with mental illness and welcome input from patients and families to ensure that we improve our practices in ways that promote acceptance and inclusion. By working toward these goals, we remain committed to our mission to embody excellence in patient care, scholarship and education, and will always endeavor to hold ourselves to the highest standard in its implementation.
The faculty of the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry
How about saying this? "We're sorry. We're sorry that a patient died as a result of our research study. We're sorry we have been so brazen in our attempts to deflect responsibility. We're sorry for acting arrogantly for the past 10 years." What. The. Heck. Can somebody at the U just say they're sorry??
O.K.  The U Psychiatry Department has metaphorically speaking put themselves on the couch and on the clock - let us see what the result is.
Where were all these concerned faculty while the Markingson case was being bashed about by the University's PR mouthpiece or legal counsel?  Where were these concerned faculty after a psychiatric nurse came forward and spoke about a culture of fear within the psychiatry departments research ?  I remember reading a 2006 Audit of the Psychiatry Department that exposed many faculty or staff were afraid of being retaliated against if they spoke up about concerns with patient safety and how certain psychiatrist were conducting studies.  Are these the same faculty that never did a thing to change the atmosphere within that department?  Now after two outside investigations all of sudden they want the world to know how concerned they are?  This is not the behavior we should be expecting from the faculty of the department of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.  I agree with others here...where are the names of these righteous authors, or are they afraid of still being retaliated against...,
Have to agree with all the other comments.  If this was meant to rebullid public trust in Psychiatry at the U, it's an epic fail.  We need a real, heartfelt apology for past misdeeds if they are ever to be trusted again.  I've been hearing about their arrogance for 30 years.  It's time they looked in a mirror and faces up to their shortcomings and the effects of those shortcomings on others.  Spare us the sanctimony of "we're just trying to help the mentally ill".
Serious ethical lapses in this dept. Cut out the bad prior to asking for forgiveness
I am not quite sure what the point of this editorial is.  The majority of the issues surrounding the U's psychiatry department center on a select few of its researchers and certainly the outgoing department chair.  Since there was no mention of the harm that has been done, the unethical practices that went on for over a decade, the denials and false statements regurgitated at every opportunity by the U's General Counsel or PR department, until there is an acknowledgement of wrongdoing within the psychiatry research venue, this is just more meaningless words.  The university's motto Driven to Discover is a joke and an insult when related to its psychiatry department. Plain and simple, for all of the patients and their families or loved ones that have been harmed by the psychiatry department, clean up your act.
It would be enlightening to know who actually wrote this. It rates about a C- for content. Although it does get a B for Pandering. I suspect one or two psychiatrists had input and it was written by high priced legal counsel.
If this wasn't penned by a PR firm, nothing was.
Maybe they didn't sign names because they rank really high in paranoia on the MMPI?
Perhaps you can lead the way by reducing reliance on over-medication, holistic approaches, (as in, Dr Oz)  etc. etc. also, prevention?  Try trauma-informed narrative therapy practices, integrated medicine approaches, meditation etc.  traditional methods are not working--quite obviously and pander to the drug companies….but i am sure your faculty enjoy the conferences.
I am kind of wondering why there are not actual names signed to this, rather than a group signature?
The problem with the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry is its ongoing arrogance, evident in this post.  As a family member of a mentally ill person, we have dealt with this arrogance, which discounted our involvement, harmed our loved one, and lead to a worse trajectory for this individual.   This arrogance is super evident in the negligence and cover up in the case of Dan Maringson. It is also something which many other individuals and families have experienced at the hand of the U of M Department of Psychiatry. There are certainly some good individual providers in this group, as well as some who need to move on with their careers. 
Please, do us the courtesy of signing your individual names-or not.  Please improve your practice, your care standards, your ethics, and your capacity to work with families.  We are waiting for this to happen. Till then, please save the editorials. Thank you. 
Probably because one of the "individuals" is named Big Pharma.
Exactly. Psychiatry, in general, causes more mental health problems than it helps.

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