If you ask me, that's the most important sentence in last week's article in Science about the psychiatric research scandals at the University of Minnesota. Governor Carlson is right: there is a massive cover-up going on. This scandal is not just about Dan Markingson anymore. As Mike Howard said at the May 9 demonstration in front of the McNamara Center, referring to victims of unethical research: "Dan was not alone. There are many more."
How many other subjects have been coerced into psychiatric research studies? How many of those subjects have committed suicide? We will never know the answer to these questions until other patients and families have the courage to speak out, just as Robert spoke out to KMSP on May 19. For over ten years, secrecy has served the University of Minnesota well. It has also served the interests of attorneys. But it has been disastrous for patients and their families.
Six months ago, we delivered a petition to Governor Mark Dayton's office, asking for an external investigation. For six months Lauren Gilchrist, a health care advisor to Dayton, has promised that we would have an answer soon. "Next week," she always says. But the answer never comes, and to be honest, I doubt it will ever come without loud, sustained public pressure. Mike Howard and Mary Weiss can't fight this battle alone anymore. They need help.
Read the article in Science. Listen to Leigh Turner's speech to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Ask yourself: how many other families have been through an ordeal like the one that Mary Weiss has been through? How many other patients have committed suicide? How many deaths could have been prevented if only people had spoken out sooner?