I have written on Dan Markingson’s death in an earlier post, and I encourage readers who are not familiar with the case to have a look.
It is generally accepted by those of us on this side of the debate that psychiatry does more harm than good, and is organizationally and individually responsible for a great many deaths worldwide every day.
These deaths, however, are seldom laid at psychiatry’s feet. Coroners return verdicts of suicide, homicide, heart attacks, choking, etc… Occasionally psychiatric practice is mentioned as a contributory factor, but not often.
Dan’s death was attributed to suicide, but behind that suicide there was a good deal of ethically questionable psychiatric treatment and research. The University of Minnesota conducted an investigation into Dan’s death, but the investigation was marred by conflicts of interest, and its findings, which exonerated the research team from responsibility, were not credible.
After a great deal of pressure from various sources, the University’s Senate recently approved a resolution calling for an independent investigation into Dan’s death. I also wrote a post on this. The University undertook to conduct such an investigation, but present indications are that this will also be a whitewash. For instance, the University’s President, Eric Kaler, has stated that the proposed review will not look into the matter of Dan’s death, but instead will focus only on the general policies and procedures currently in place. Here’s a quote from an interview with President Kaler that was published in the Minnesota Daily on December 11, 2013:
“It [the Senate’s call for an independent investigation] certainly resulted as a consequence of a lot of repetitive publicity about the Markingson case, but it’s not a review of the Markingson case; it’s a review of what we are doing now and what we’re going to do moving forward.”
Carl Elliott, PhD, Bioethics Professor at the university, has been pushing tirelessly in this matter, literally for years. On April 8 he published Markingson Case Supporters: We Need Your Help on his website. In this update he points out that
“…evidence is accumulating that Dan Markingson was not the only patient who died or was seriously injured in psychiatric research studies at the university.”
He also asks for help and support in urging the State Governor Mark Dayton and the University Board of Regents Chair Richard Beeson to take appropriate steps to ensure that Dan’s death and the deaths of the other research participants are investigated thoroughly by independent authorities
Carl’s post contains phone numbers for the Governor and the Regents Chair, along with a suggested message. Please take a look at Carl’s article, and if you agree, please add your voice to this call for transparency and integrity.
In this post I stated that the University of Minnesota had conducted an investigation into Dan’s death and had exonerated the research team.
In fact, the university did not conduct any investigation of Dan’s death. See a link here.
I apologize for the error.