Maryland hospital taking steps to correct HIV test mix-up
March 24 2004 12:00 AM ET
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), whose district includes Baltimore's Maryland General Hospital, said Monday the facility has taken steps to correct the problems that resulted in hundreds of suspect HIV and hepatitis C lab test results being sent to patients.
Hospital officials have said 460 suspect test results were sent to patients during a 14-month period that ended in August. According to a state inspection report, lab workers manipulated and eliminated test machine readings indicating that some test results may have been inaccurate and should have been discarded. Efforts are under way to find and retest all those who received the suspect results.
Cummings noted that the hospital has contracted with a Utah firm to run its lab operation and that it no longer uses the Labotech blood analyzer at the center of the problem.
But on Friday former lab worker Kristin Turner said the people who received the faulty results could number in the thousands, not hundreds. Turner is suing the hospital and Adaltis US Inc., which made the blood tester, for $30 million. Turner blames the machine for an accident in which she contracted HIV and hepatitis C. She estimated that the lab conducted about 150 tests weekly for HIV and hepatitis C and B during 14 months, or about 8,400 tests.
Cummings, who said he spoke for two hours with Turner on Saturday, said the hospital plans to "broaden the universe" of patients who might have received the results. Cummings has called for a congressional hearing, to be held May 16, to investigate the lab problems and for possible legislative remedies.