Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"If there is one thing the university has excelled at in this sorry story it is that of creating a climate of intimidation, both towards the plaintiff, Ms. Weiss, and towards concerned faculty"

Dr. Judy Stone has posted Part 4 of her Scientific American blog series on the death of Dan Markingson in the CAFE study.  You can read it here.

An especially relevant point in her post is this:
"University counsel Mark Rotenberg skillfully and disingenuously proclaimed of reviewers, “None found fault with the University. None found fault with any of our faculty.” This is true—but only as far as it goes. I, like Carl Elliott before me, have not been able to find anything from the Attorney General’s office that exonerates the university.

In fact the Attorney General’s office clearly had concerns about the case. For one, the Board of Social Work, which issued the corrective action against Ms. Kenney, was represented by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin R. Garbe. They cited her undertaking tasks beyond the scope of practice of a social worker—but this was clearly done with Dr. Olson’s knowledge and support.

Deputy Attorney General Michael Vanselow also wrote Mary Weiss, “We are also willing to work with you and Jim Gottstein in regard to drafting some proposed legislation to address some of the systemic problems that contributed to your son’s death.” Such legislation was passed in 2009 and is known as “Dan’s Law.” This law prohibits recruiting most patients who are under a commitment agreement into clinical trials.

The IRB was not exonerated either. More accurately, a District Court “judge ruled in a partial summary judgment that the university IRB was ‘statutorily immune from liability.’

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