Minimizing Legal Liability Or Upholding The Mission? - The Markingson Case Redux

Roy M. Poses | Health Care Renewal | March 15, 2013

There are new, and troubling developments in the long running case of Dan Markingson, the psychiatric patient and research subject who committed suicide while enrolled in a trial of anti-psychotic drugs at the University of Minnesota nearly 10 years ago.

Summary of the Case

A good quick summary of this case just appeared in the Center for Law and Bioscience blob out of the Stanford Law School. 

Dan Markingson – a vulnerable, psychotic young man – was forced to choose between enrolling in a Pharma-funded drug study or being involuntarily committed (in other words, locked up).  A UMN [University of Minnesota]  doctor enrolled him in the study despite having just determined that Dan 'lack[ed] the capacity to make decisions regarding [his] treatment,' rendering it highly unlikely that Dan could have given valid informed consent to participate.  As Dan's mother, Mary Weiss, observed his mental condition deteriorating, she repeatedly tried to have Dan removed from the trial – at one point asking  'Do we have to wait until he kills himself or someone else before anyone does anything?'  But the UMN co-investigators in the drug study refused to terminate his participation.  Shortly after Ms. Weiss made her desperate plea, Dan Markingson killed himself by cutting his own throat.