Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dr. Charles Schulz speaks about the suicide of Dan Markingson

Dr. Charles Schulz has not spoken to the press about the suicide of Dan Markingson, but he spoke to an interviewer for the Minnesota Psychiatric Society about the case in 2010.  Here is what he said.  (See if you can spot the falsehoods.)

"Dr. Cerra (University of Minnesota Vice-President for Health Sciences) has expressed his wish, he, from the first day I met him to now, has said - I want us to be able to collaborate with industry, whether it is pharmaceutical or device, or whatever; but, let's make it real clear what we're doing. I think we can move ahead with this.  And our conflict of interest policy here at the University is really pretty much that way. Not pretty much, very much - it's actually as strict as any conflict of interest in the US."

"Our Department of Psychiatry has been hurt by an event that happened in 2004, when we were involved in a study of first episode schizophrenia. Dr. Jeff Lieberman, the chair now at Columbia, and a real expert in first episode schizophrenia, thought to himself, and his colleagues like Joe McEvoy and others, that we really don't know how to use anti-psychotics and/or compare the efficacy and safety in people right at the outset of the disease. So he wrote a protocol and submitted it as an investigator-initiated study to AstraZeneca, and it compared Olanzapine, Quetiapine and Risperidone blindly. And Dr. [Stephen] Olson, here, is the head of our schizophrenia program and was the PI [principal investigator] for our site. The study entered, I think, 400 people."

"There's lots and lots of descriptions of what happened, but Dr. Olson enrolled a young man. I think he got enrolled in November, and in May ended his own life. He was at a residential treatment center. He had been seen by a staff member maybe an hour or two before his death, and Dr. Olson was coordinating the ratings and the administrating [sic] of the medication while the person was receiving treatment in the community. This, then, led to, as I think you're aware, a lawsuit."

"The judge dismissed the case, with prejudice, saying that the case was so feeble that he could not allow for an appeal. And since that time, there have been a number of different people, including a person on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, in the Ethics Department, the patient's family, very distressed and upset. The department has gone through--- the department as a whole, has been audited and reviewed. Dr. Olson has been audited and reviewed, and I've been audited and reviewed by the State of Minnesota, by the vice president of research office, by people from the Board of Regents, from the State Medical Board, from the Attorney General's Office. All of those [have been] negative. Yet, as people continue to bring up these complaints and go to the newspapers, it continues to be in the newspapers."


  1. It’s readily apparent from Schulz’s recanting of the events surrounding the death of Dan Markingson in this interview that deliberate misstatements of fact are at issue. I guess to Schulz it doesn’t matter whether he thought such misstatements or lies were despicable or might cause more harm than good. It appears he felt it’s an important aspect of his personal autonomy to have his right to shape his own public and private persona by choosing when and if to tell the truth about oneself, and when to conceal and when to deceive. Well, he chooses to lie, and conceal, and deceive all in a single paragraph. As has often been the case in dealing with the U-MN and especially Schulz, the lies are always disbelieved and discovered and then disproven by fact, but Schulz just feels compelled to take that risk to try and develop his reputation as the almighty chair of psychiatry at the U-MN.

  2. http://news.med.umn.edu/content/psychiatry-head-receive-major-award

    Psychiatry head to receive major award

    Published by Sarah Hansen on Mon, 04/15/2013 - 08:19
    S. Charles Schulz, M.D., head of the Department of Psychiatry, will receive the esteemed Stanley Dean Award for Research in Schizophrenia in 2014. For more than 50 years, The American College of Psychiatrists (ACP) has issued this award to “a group or individual that has made a major contribution to the treatment of schizophrenic disorders.”