An Arizona woman testified on Tuesday against former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, alleging that the company’s blood test nearly prompted her to terminate the pregnancy after it falsely showed she had suffered a miscarriage.
Brittany Gould, the first person to testify against Ms Holmes in the wire fraud case, said she took Theranos test at a Walgreens store in Arizona after learning of her pregnancy in September 2014.
Renowned as a disruptor in the pharmaceutical industry, the concept device called the “Edison” can run multiple tests with just a few drops of blood.
Ms Gould had already suffered three miscarriages in a row and wanted to make sure all was well with her fourth pregnancy. Given the high risk, her nurse practitioner Audra Zachman advised her to take the hCG test, which measures the pregnancy hormone, CNBC informed of.
The value doubles every 48 to 72 hours in a normal pregnancy, Ms. Zachman said. Ms Gold first took a test on 30 September with a value of 1,005, and later on 2 October, the level was reached at 12,558.
On October 4, another Theranos test showed that those values had dropped to 125.58, indicating that she had suffered a miscarriage.
“She told me that your numbers are dropping, unfortunately, and that I was having a miscarriage,” Ms. Gould said. However, after a few days tests done through a different lab confirmed that she was still pregnant. Eventually, eight months later she gave birth to a healthy girl.
“I remember communicating to Brittany that it seemed like it was a non-viable pregnancy that would make it her fourth loss,” Ms Zachman testified. She adds, “There is no medical explanation for the value in pregnancy loss to go from 100 to thousands or really go up.”
After the incident, Ms. Zachman filed a complaint with Theranos.
She told jurors that she began sending patients to Theranos in 2014 after learning about their new technology, but stopped after false reports. “I felt very uncertain about the validity of the results and felt uncomfortable as a provider as my patients continued to use it,” she said.
An emotional Ms. Gould said that after giving birth, she never used a Theranos product again. She said: “You can’t provide accurate patient care with false results.”
According to prosecutors, Ms Holmes and her former partner and former company chairman Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, “frauded” patients and investors by claiming that their “revolutionary” device could run multiple tests through a finger-prick system.
In fact, the equipment was often shorted out and worn out. “The loss of all these babies and pregnancies, and going through the experience of thinking that I am losing another one, is a lot,” Ms. Gold said. Wall Street Journal.
The accused have been charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to extort $700mn from investors. All the accused have declared themselves innocent.
Ms Holmes has maintained her innocence since the US government brought charges against her in 2018. Her trial began on August 31 following the coronavirus pandemic and then a delay in pregnancy.
If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a reversal of fortune for an entrepreneur whose wealth was once estimated at $4.5 billion.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Elizabeth Holmes