We have new information, since we first reported about the problems with the Department of Health blood tests at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
We subpoenaed the analyst, Mitchell Fox-Rivera for a DMV hearing on April 25, 2012. Much to our surprise, he appeared at the hearing by telephone. He testified that he had little to no training. Basically, he was told about the operating procedures at the lab and had another lab tech watch him for a few days. He said the lab supervisor, Cynthia Burbach, did not supervise his work. Apparently, there were questions about his work that came up in early March, but he did not receive any additional training and none of the other lab personnel observed how he was performing his tests. We have ordered a transcript of his testimony and will post it when we receive it from the transcriber.
At the DMV hearing, we obtained a Revised Affidavit that Ms. Burbach had provided to the DMV. In that affidavit, which was signed on April 20th, Ms. Burbach said that 250 blood samples had been retested and “10 have been found to have an actual BAC significantly higher than reported by the technician.” The variance in the tests ranged between 24 and 77 percent. She indicated that the error in the technician’s process has been found. According to Ms. Burbach, “the technician did not follow the standard operating procedure and failed to properly operate a standard piece of equipment. This resulted in a lower volume of blood being analyzed than is proper. This decreased volume, then resulted in a lower reported BAC than the actual BAC.”
A number of things in this affidavit don’t make sense. First, were there variances in the other 240 samples that CDPHE says were not significant? What was the percent of variance in those tests? Second, CDPHE says the problem has been identified and is due to a lower volume of blood being analyzed than is proper. CDPHE tests multiple samples at a time. If the technician was using a lower volume of blood than is proper, then all of the samples should have the same problem.
We have filed an Open Records request to get the documents and communications from CDPHE. I suspect that much of what we have requested will be denied and CDPHE will hide behind some form of privilege that these records relate to an ongoing