Monday, August 24, 2009

DHR & False Positive Drug Tests - One Woman's Story

No one will contest the fact that Alabama's Department of Human Resources is overworked and, yes, in all probability, underpaid. In the years since the organization changed its name from the Department of Pensions and Security, DHR has announced improved policies and protocol upgrades on a regular basis. At this point, just what level of service should the citizens of Alabama expect from DHR? We can definitely conclude that the Alabama Department of Human Resources, along with ECM Hospital, horribly failed one young Lauderdale County woman.

On July 13, 2009, Kayla Turpen, an unmarried woman on Medicaid, gave birth to a daughter at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence. On July 14th, a nursery worker entered Miss Turpen's room and informed her the child had tested positive for cocaine. Kayla herself tested negative for any illicit drugs, but this did not deter the DHR from stating their intentions of pressing charges against her, as well as seeking an end to her custody of the infant.

Fortunately for Kayla, her mother has a background in health care and recalled that on July 1, 2009, Kayla had been prescribed Macrobid for a urinary tract infection. Yesterday we published a link to a very extensive list of drugs that could cause false positives in certain drug screens; however, the drug Macrobid was not on the list. Does that mean Macrobid would never cause a false positive?

According to a Harvard Medical School study, the answer to that question is no. The Harvard study tested 13 antibiotics using five common (we may also infer cheap) drug tests; in two out of the five, Macrobid caused a false positive for cocaine.

Upon the insistence of Kayla and the Turpen family, she and her infant were retested, this time using hair samples. After a week of uncertainty, both tests came back negative for cocaine or any other illegal drugs.

On August 15th, Kayla's brother and sister-in-law had a child at ECM. If any drug testing was done in this case, the married mother with private insurance was not informed of it. On the obstetrics floor, the Turpen family encountered the same ECM personnel who one month earlier had falsely accused Kayla of cocaine use. No one offered any of them an apology.

What's up with this: Hundreds of Bank Independent customers across the Tennessee Valley are receiving new debit cards this week. It seems "a major payment processor experienced a security breach." Bank Independent further states these customers will also receive new PIN numbers. New personal identification number numbers? Is that like "Pizza, pizza?"