“My son Dan died almost five years ago in a clinical study at the University of Minnesota, a study he lacked any diagnosis for, and a study that I tried unsuccessfully to get him out of for five months.” Ever since her son’s untimely death, Mary Weiss has been trying to spread this message to the world.
In 2003, her delusional son, Dan Markingson, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and admitted to the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Fairview. Shortly after, he was put into a clinical trial testing three different types of schizophrenia medications: Seroquel, Risperdal, and Zyprexa. Very quickly, his daily 800mg doses of Seroquel started to worsen his delusions.
In response, his mother frantically sent letters, emails, and called the study coordinators to try and take her son out of the program. But the administration banned Dan from leaving the study, threatening to put him into a mental facility if he tried to drop out. Weiss was shocked by this until she learned a key fact about the program: her son’s participation was worth $15,000 to the school.
Unable to leave the program, Markingson’s delusions became worse until he eventually committed suicide by stabbing himself to death in the shower. A suicide note read, “I went through this experience smiling!” Devastated, his mother sued the school, which refused to take responsibility for its actions. Markingson was one of five trial subjects to attempt suicide, and one of two who succeeded in taking their own lives.