Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why has the University of Minnesota fought the Markingson case so ruthlessly?

Here’s a conversation I sometimes have with reporters about the death of Dan Markingson. After we talk at length about the circumstances of Dan’s suicide – the commitment order, the coercion, the desperate warnings by Mary Weiss – the reporter eventually says something like this: "“Good God, this sounds unbelievably horrific.  Does the University of Minnesota seriously believe that nothing went wrong here?”

The answer is, “Of course not.”  Nobody can look at the facts of this case and conclude in good conscience that everything went exactly as it should have.  A psychotic young man in a drug study nearly decapitates himself in the bathroom of a halfway house, and the university doesn’t even think the incident is worth investigating?  And then it files a legal action against the dead man’s mother?  What puzzles some reporters, I think, is the fact that all this bullying and denial is coming from a university. We expect lies from corporations. We expect lies from the government. But many people still give universities the benefit of the doubt.

This may be why reporters don’t ask a further question. “Why has the university fought this case so aggressively?” Doctors settle malpractice cases all the time. Wrongdoing in a research study is not nearly as common, but when it happens, universities are rarely punished. Wouldn’t it have been in the interests of the university simply to apologize and settle the lawsuit by Mary Weiss years ago?

Only if you believe Dan Markingson was the only victim. What if other research subjects have died or been injured? It doesn’t take a genius to read the warning signs. There was the “corrective action” by the Board of Social Work against Jean Kenney.  There were the mysterious “evaluation to consent” forms and the lingering HIPAA puzzle.  There were all those false or misleading claims of exoneration by the General Counsel.  There was the stonewalling of all my Data Practices Act requests.  And remember: the Department of Psychiatry has a documented history of abuse in clinical trials. Maybe the university has fought back so aggressively simply because it knows what a close investigation would reveal.


  1. Excellent take Carl, but it's not just reporters that come to the same conclusion after hearing the facts regarding Dan's death. Many state agency's have questioned the University's behavior and taken the step to prevent more such tragedy's. The Office of the Attorney General eagerly offered to support Dan's Law, and the Ombudsman's Office for Mental Illness testified for it as well as investigated the death and the University's involvement and wasn't so exonerating with their conclusion. Look up the definition of a 'bully' and you'll find the UMN listed as an example.

  2. "But many people still give universities the benefit of the doubt."

    For every Dan Markingson, there are thousands of vaccine injury victims dead or living in pain and misery. People reflexively give vaccine promoters the benefit of the doubt because we believe they are only interested in saving lives.

    What's forgotten is the utilitarian formula, "benefits outweigh risks." Translated, that means a certain number of people may be sacrificed as collateral damage in the war on disease. But how many?

    Also forgotten is that people make mistakes, choose shortcuts, or succumb to greed.
    - Look up Poul Thorsen, who sits atop the HHS Office of the Inspector General's Most Wanted list for fraud. Thorsen supplied much of the CDC's made-to-order vaccine/autism epidemiology.
    - Look up the Merck mumps vaccine virologist whistleblowers who have filed suit in East Pennsylvania court accusing their former employer of statistical fraud about efficacy -- "Protocol 007."
    - Mark Livingston was a training director at a Wyeth vaccine plant who pointed out manufacturing problems. Wyeth was fined $30,000,000, Livingston was fired, and he filed suit. Livingston is a 2004 winner of the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage (Herbert Needleman won in 2002).

    Journalists have blacklisted vaccine safety investigations, but few consumer products are so much in need of microscopic scrutiny by the public.