HIV Test Results Analyzed at New Jersey Lab ‘Mishandled or Deliberately Altered,’ Officials Say
New Jersey state officials on Friday closed the Medical Laboratory of Ironbound in Newark after discovering that the results of HIV and other disease tests for 4,000 patients had been "mishandled or deliberately altered," the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Patients who were tested for HIV or had their blood analyzed at the lab for other reasons will receive letters recommending that they return to Universal Industrial Clinic, which houses the lab, to have blood drawn for re-testing by an independent, outside company, according to Kevin Marino, a lawyer for the lab and the lab owner, Dr. Chandrakant Patel. "Universal and Dr. Patel take great pride in the quality and accuracy of the testing done at Ironbound," Marino said, adding, "These findings are very, very troubling to Dr. Patel and very troubling to Universal, and that's why we are taking the steps that we are taking." Riki Jacobs, executive director of the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, said the allegations are "quite serious." She said, "To be awaiting [HIV and other test results] causes extreme anxiety. ... Then not to know whether the results are accurate obviously makes people very upset and concerned." Jacobs has recommended that anyone who is "unsure of their results" be re-tested for HIV at a state-sponsored testing site. In addition, state Department of Health and Senior Services officials on Friday announced that they had set up a hotline for physicians and patients whose tests may have been analyzed at the lab (Goldsmith, Newark Star-Ledger, 3/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.