A state board has sanctioned a former University of Minnesota social worker for alleged bookkeeping errors and other mistakes made during a 2004 drug study that involved a schizophrenia patient who committed suicide.
The death of Dan Markingson led to a lawsuit, a federal investigation and an overhaul of the university's ethics standards for clinical trials.
The agreement between the social worker, Jean Kenney, who handled some of the Markingson's records, and the Minnesota Board of Social Work was released Friday. But it isn't a disciplinary action, but rather an "agreement for correction action" that says Kenney should complete 18 hours of training and write a report on whether it alters her view of her conduct.
"It is the first public acknowledgement of the wrongs that were done," Mike Howard, a close friend to Markingson's mother, told the Star Tribune for a story published Tuesday (http://bit.ly/UmSw3S).
Kenney's attorney, David Alsop, said his client reached the agreement to put the matter behind her. He said she acknowledges record-keeping errors, but maintains that they didn't affect the "tragic outcome" of the case.
The agreement asserts that Kenney recorded incorrect drug dosages and made other mistakes in Markingson's records. It says she also made clinical observations about him, and whether the drugs caused him side effects, that were beyond her scope of practice as a social worker.
Alsop said Kenney disagrees with most assertions in the agreement.
Howard said the agreement in some ways raises more questions about study leaders rather than about Kenney herself, including why they put Kenney in a role beyond her training.
The courts and Food and Drug Administration have held the university blameless in Markingson's death. The lead psychiatrist settled a lawsuit for modest costs but was not disciplined. The Legislature has since made it illegal for psychiatrists to recruit their own patients into their own clinical trials.