Imagine that you lose your only son to suicide in a medical experiment. When you try to get his study records, the university refuses. When you file suit, the university argues successfully in court that it is ‘immune.’ Then it retaliates by filing a legal action against you, demanding that you pay the university $57,000 in legal costs. When you try to deliver a letter of complaint to the university president, his staff calls security guards and has you escorted out of the building.
Believe it or not, these are the actions taken by the University of Minnesota, where I teach medical ethics, against Mary Weiss, a 70-year-old retired postal worker from St. Paul.