Sunday, July 20, 2014

How many subjects have died in psychiatric studies at the U? The U replies (sort of)

During the four years since I published "Making a Killing" in Mother Jones magazine, I have been contacted confidentially by a number of people who say that they or their family members have undergone harrowing experiences similar to that of Dan Markingson in the CAFE study. For that reason, I have filed numerous open records requests over the past year, trying to find out whether other psychiatric research subjects have died or been seriously injured at the U.  I started with studies by four U psychiatrists: Stephen Olson, Charles Schulz, John Jensen, and David Adson.

Last week, nine months after I filed my open records request, the General Counsel's office provided me with a spreadsheet of studies conducted by these four psychiatrists. Included on this spreadsheet are the numbers of subjects who have experienced Serious Adverse Events (death or serious injuries) at the University of Minnesota for each study.

According to the records listed on this spreadsheet, the only person to die in psychiatric studies conducted by these four psychiatrists was Dan Markingson.  There are no other deaths listed.  (The spreadsheet does indicate that the records for some studies have been destroyed, and the U is not saying whether deaths occurred in those studies.)

Is this spreadsheet a truthful, accurate representation of what happened in those studies?  Certainly it does not match up with what I have been told by families. And in the case reported by Jeff Baillon of KMSP News on May 19, the study records provided by the IRB did not match up with the experience of the subject himself.  Without access to more information, however, it is impossible for me to make an informed judgement.

In any case, this spreadsheet does provide some sense of what University of Minnesota officials plan to tell the Legislative Auditor as his office investigates the U.  And if this information goes unchallenged by those with more direct experience of psychiatric research, the Legislative Auditor will have no reason to doubt it. This is why it is crucial that subjects of psychiatric research at the U or their family members contact the Legislative Auditor directly.


  1. What is Mr. Nobles E Mail address and telephone number?

  2. You can find the contact information here: