Maryland General offers free retesting

Tool used in HIV, hepatitis tests may be unreliable

March 23, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Officials at Maryland General Hospital said yesterday that they will offer free retesting to any patients who were tested for HIV or hepatitis C at the hospital during a 14-month period ending in August of last year.

Lee Kennedy, a spokesman for the hospital, said the offer was made to address concerns about the reliability of tests that were performed on an analyzer known as a Labotech. The equipment is no longer being used, and state and hospital officials have determined that about 460 HIV and hepatitis C test results obtained from the machine never should have been sent out.

Though Kennedy said he did not know how many additional patients would be eligible for the free tests, the numbers are likely to be in the thousands. The spokesman said hospital officials believe that most of the tests will turn out to have been accurate, despite problems with the testing equipment.

Also last week, a former employee of Maryland General filed a multimillion lawsuit against the hospital and the manufacturer of the testing equipment. Kristin S. Turner says she became infected with HIV and hepatitis when a Labotech malfunctioned.

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