Maryland hospital's suspect lab had received highest rating
The hospital lab at Maryland General Hospital, which may have issued over 2,200 inaccurate HIV and hepatitis test results between June 2002 and August 2003, had received the highest accreditation rating in July 2003 from the College of American Pathologists, the Baltimore Sun reports. CAP failed to detect any of the problems with the lab and lab personnel that resulted in the possibly inaccurate test data. State inspectors were made aware of the problems by a former lab employee who is suing the hospital after allegedly becoming infected with HIV and hepatitis C through the faulty lab equipment. The hospital's lab was "accredited with distinction," according to CAP's July 16, 2003, announcement, which was based on a review conducted in April 2003.
State and federal laws require routine inspections and accreditation of Maryland hospitals by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which licensed CAP to perform the on-site inspection. "We now understand that some time after the college conducted its regularly scheduled inspection in April of 2003, the state of Maryland received a complaint report from a former laboratory employee," CAP spokesman Anthony Phipps told the Sun. "The nature of the problem is such that a routine accreditation inspection would not have readily identified the problem without a prior complaint having been filed." Phipps said the college is now conducting its own investigation into problems at the lab. Hospital officials are seeking hundreds of former hospital patients to urge them to be retested for HIV and hepatitis because of the possibly inaccurate original test results.