The Bitter Pill

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Sample Letter to Senator Grassley on the No. 13 Bill

(Also you should consider faxing the office directly at: 202-224-6020 to avoid delay or possible failure to deliver your letter.)

Senator Charles Grassley
c/o Angela Choy
Senate Finance Committee
219 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington D.C. 20510-l501
 

Dear Senator Grassley:

Dan Markingson, a friend and the son of Mary Weiss, died while in a clinical study through the University of Minnesota.  He was on a stay of civil commitment and coerced into entering the CAFÉ Study by Dr. Stephen C. Olson as evidenced by the information Mary sent you with her letter of April 7, 2008.

Mary has asked you to initiate legislation to prohibit anyone under civil commitment, whether active or stayed, from entering a psychiatric clinical study.  A civil commitment, whether active or stayed, is an indication that the individual has been court-ordered to obtain treatment for mental illness.   A clinical study does not constitute treatment. Furthermore, treatment must always begin with looking for any underlying physical causes for the mental illness.

This letter is to show my support for Mary Weiss, and to ask you to help protect the most vulnerable among us.  Please pass legislation prohibiting anyone under a civil commitment from entering a psychiatric clinical study; instead mandate that they receive good and proper treatment to enable them to again take their place in society. 

A society is judged by how they treat their most vulnerable citizens. I know you to be an outspoken voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.  Please pass this most important bill.

Respectfully,

Filed under: akathisia, antipsychotics, Charles Grassley, Congress, Dan Markingson, experimentation, forced 'treatment', Mary Weiss, No. 13 Bill, suicide

Letter from Mary Weiss to Charles Grassley

‘Examiner’s Statement’ by Dr. Olson stating Dan lacks capacity; that he does not believe he has a mental illness, and ‘Neuroleptic Medication’ form that states one lacks capacity to give informed consent if they do not believe they have a mental illness. 

maryweiss36@hotmail.com

April 7, 2008
 

Senator Charles Grassley
135 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington D.C. 20510-1501
 

Dear Senator Grassley:

Two Special Agents from the FDA suggested I contact you.  I cannot name them as they are prohibited from advocating for any bill.  However, I am hoping that after reading my story, you will be interested in helping.

My son, Dan Markingson, died May 8, 2004 while in a psychiatric clinical study that I had tried for five months to get him out of.  (I believe you may even have talked to my attorney, Gale Pearson, recently.)  Dan was given a stay of civil commitment provided he follow the direction of his ‘treatment team’.  His treatment team, led by Dr. Stephen C. Olson, against whom I have just settled my civil lawsuit, coerced Dan into his lucrative clinical study under threat of going to Anoka Regional Treatment Center for six months.  While in the study Dan continued to deteriorate, and despite my asking them if Dan “had to kill himself or someone else before anyone does anything”, (which they recorded in their file) the answer was yes.

Since his death I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get the enclosed bill passed in Minnesota which would prohibit anyone on a stay of civil commitment from entering into a psychiatric clinical study, but instead require them to get ‘treatment’ as the court had obviously intended.

Please read the bill.  It is very simple.  As Arthur Caplan, Bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania has noted, ‘animals often get better protection in studies than do humans’.

I have the depositions of the doctors involved and the affidavits of the expert witnesses which I could e-mail to you.  I am also enclosing in addition to the Bill other pertinent information relative to my son’s death in the CAFÉ Study:

  • Dan Markingson – Wrongful Death – Overview
  • Dan Markingson – Timeline
  • Notes from Regions Hospital suggesting bipolar disorder and Dr. Olson’s same thoughts
  • Court Commitment directing Dan to following orders of his doctor
  • Discharge Plan from hospital directing him to attend CAFÉ Study (or go to state hospital)
  • “Examiner’s Statement” by Dr. Olson stating Dan lacks capacity; that he does not believe he has a mental illness, and ‘Neuroleptic Medication’ form that states one lacks capacity to give informed consent if they do not believe they have a mental illness. 
  • Consent form
  • Errors and Omissions sheet regarding consent form
  • Protocol page: drug should start with one capsule “to minimize risk of adverse effects”
  • Drug Accountability Log: this was not followed.  Dr. Olson never even signed this Log
  • CCM Contacts Report of D. Pettit, case manager: Re: Dan going back in hospital 12/9/03
  • Page of study coordinator’s file: my asking “do we have to wait for him to kill himself…?”
  • Early Warning Signs Questionnaire, regarding ‘his recent relapse’…?
  • Progress Notes from L. Bennati, day therapist, showing (4/3/04) Dan’s deterioration
  • Letter of 7/5/04 from Olson to Jo Zillhardt stating Pettit approved Dan entering study before he entered it on 11/21/03.
  • Letter of 1/4/05 from Mary Jones, Dakota County: Pettit appointed Dan’s case manager 11/24/03, 3 days after Dan entered the study.
  • Computer printout showing payments to Olson & Schulz by pharma (2007 not shown)
  • Letter 10/25/04 from Dr. Olson stating no adverse events in clinical studies at University of MN and page from his deposition acknowledging signature, stating, when asked if he was denying writing it or saying he didn’t remember, that he didn’t remember writing it, rather than denying writing it.  No adverse events? Totally impossible!
  • Three letters from me to Dr. Schulz; no answer till third letter ten days before Dan died.  Note in my third letter I again talked about the rage in Dan (akathisia, as I later learned, which is caused by the drug) and Schulz in paragraph 3 states, “You did indicate that you have told Jeannie Kenney that your son has a rage within him.  It was not clear to me how you thought the treatment team should deal with this issue.”  Who is the doctor here?  But yes, I did say I thought he should be on an anti-anxiety medication.  After being on Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication, the first night in the hospital, the next day he seemed like his old self.  Dr. Olson even wrote in the hospital file he would lean toward bipolar because of Dan’s fast reaction to Ativan.

In same letter Dr. Schulz stated “Dan has not asked to be out (of the study).” Declaration of Helsinki, item 15 states the welfare of enrollee rests on medically qualified person and never on subject himself.  Dan was too sick to ask to be out, and dead ten days later.  Ethics codes do not apply to Dr. Schulz?

Senator Grassley, I am interested in getting this information out and the Bill passed so we can prevent this from happening again to other families.  I appreciate the work you do for the humane treatment of the mentally ill!  Let’s give them a chance to return to society!

Sincerely,
Mary Weiss

Filed under: akathisia, antipsychotics, Charles Grassley, Congress, Dan Markingson, experimentation, forced 'treatment', Mary Weiss, No. 13 Bill, Seroquel, suicide

No. 13 Bill To Prevent Experimentation As Condition of Stayed Commitment Orders

A bill for an act 

 

Relating to individuals with mental illnesses who are under a release before civil commitment amending Minnesota statute 253B.095, Release before commitment, by adding a subdivision.

 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA

 

            Subdivision 1. {Court Release.}

 

(a) After the hearing and before a commitment order has been issued, the court may release a proposed patient to the custody of an individual or agency upon conditions that guarantee the care and treatment of the patient.

 

(b)  A person against whom a criminal proceeding is pending may not be released.

 

(c)   A continuance for dismissal, with or without findings, may be granted for up to 90 days.

 

(d)  When the court stays an order for commitment for more than 14 days beyond the date of the initially scheduled hearing, the court shall issue an order that must include:

 

(1)  a written plan for services to which the proposed patient has agreed;

 

(2)  a finding that the proposed treatment is available and accessible to the patient and that public or private financial resources are available to pay for the proposed treatment.

                    

            (a)   “a patient under a release before civil commitment, or on a stayed 

                commitment, shall be prohibited from entering into a psychiatric clinical trial.”

 

(3)  Conditions the patient must meet to avoid revocation of the stayed commitment order and imposition of the commitment.

 

(e)   A person receiving treatment under this section has all rights under this chapter.

Filed under: akathisia, antipsychotics, Charles Grassley, Congress, Dan Markingson, experimentation, forced 'treatment', Mary Weiss, No. 13 Bill, Seroquel, suicide

A Letter From Mary Weiss, mother of “No. 13″ in U. of Minnesota Schizophrenia Study


Hello Amy, 

My son Dan died as a result of akathisia caused by Seroquel.  Possibly you have read the account of his death under TwinCities.com, ‘Death of No. 13′.  
 
That these drugs cause violence and suicide is a fact and this information is available everywhere on the internet.  You mention ssristories.com.  That is only one place.  You probably know of the many more.
 
Amy, there is an answer and a way to heal those with mental problems other than neuroleptics, and that answer is Soteria.  I don’t know if you know of Dr. Loren Mosher and the Soteria Project in which those with serious mental illnesses got well without the debilitating effects of the neuroleptic drugs – but rather through compassion and caring.  Unfortunately, Dr. Mosher died a few years ago, but a Soteria House is opening in Anchorage, Alaska this year.  We, however, need Soteria residences in every state.  Google Loren Mosher’s letter of resignation to the APA (American Psychiatric Association.)  Also Google Lars Martensson, a Swedish physician who wrote a wonderful essay, ‘Should Neuroleptic Drugs Be Banned?’
 
I am asking everyone if they would write to Senator Charles Grassley and ask him to request funds form congress to build Soteria Houses, and also to prohibit anyone on a stay of civil commitment (as Dan was) from entering a psychiatric clinical study.   Please write to him in care of Angela Choy at 217 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C.  I have exchanged many e-mails with Angela, and she has called me and told me Senator Grassley is immensely interested in mental health issues and to keep information coming.  (I have sent her the book ‘Soteria’ and ‘Mad in America‘ by Robert Whitaker.)  The answer to mental illness is not drugs, but kindness, compassion and caring.  People can get well, as my son Dan certainly would have.  
 
We have power – and we can make a difference.  One person can make a difference – YOU!

 

I have attached a letter I wrote to Senator Grassley in April, a copy of the bill I am asking him to present (it refers to Minnesota only because I tried to get it heard hear first until two FDA Agents suggested I contact Grassley) and a copy of a sample support letter.  100 friends and relatives have sent letters of support to Senator Grassley.  Will you please do so also?  

We can be heard!

Sincerely,
Mary Weiss

 

Filed under: akathisia, antipsychotics, Charles Grassley, Congress, Dan Markingson, experimentation, forced 'treatment', Mary Weiss, No. 13 Bill, Seroquel, suicide

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