Latest Theranos lawsuit alleges patient harm from faulty blood test

A lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Arizona alleges a Theranos blood test led to a former customer having a heart attack, reports Ars Technica.

The plaintiff, a former customer identified only as R.C. in the lawsuit to protect his privacy, reportedly received orders from his physician to obtain a routine blood test as part of an annual heart health checkup. R.C. had the blood test done at a Theranos Wellness Center in a Walgreens pharmacy in February 2015. Walgreens previously hosted Theranos clinics in 40 Arizona stores, but terminated the relationship following scrutiny over the startup's tests.

Theranos sent the test results indicating R.C.'s blood results were normal to his physician, and per the results, the physician recommended R.C. continue with his current medication regime, according to the lawsuit.

One month later, R.C. had a heart attack, was admitted to the hospital and had two stents placed, according to the lawsuit. "Additional blood work performed during his hospitalization strongly suggested that the near-contemporaneous Theranos blood test was inaccurate and that R.C. and his cardiologist's reliance on the Theranos' test results was potentially inaccurate or even harmful," according to the lawsuit.

In May, Theranos voided tens of thousands of tests its proprietary Edison devices had completed over two years. The lawsuit indicates the voiding of the tests strengthens the plaintiff's concern that the Theranos test was inaccurate.

Ars Technica reports that this lawsuit is the first to link the faulty tests to patient harm. The other lawsuits against the company mainly allege consumer fraud.

In comments to Becker's Hospital Review, a Theranos spokesperson said, "Patient safety and clinical quality are our top priorities. This matter involves ongoing litigation which will resolve itself in due course. In the meantime, we remain committed to the highest standards across all our labs and look forward to continuing to bring access to high-integrity, affordable health information to every person."

Editor's note: This article was updated at 2:03 pm CT on July, 20 to include comments from a Theranos spokesperson.

More articles on Theranos:

The dangers of putting positive spin on bad news: 4 lessons from Theranos' successes and mistakes 
Theranos spokeswoman to step down amid troubles 
Why this board member still believes in Theranos 

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