Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos Inc., arrives in federal court in San Jose, California, USA on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
Davie Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Erin Tompkins, who drew her blood from a Theranos machine at a Walgreens site in Arizona, said the test mistakenly diagnosed her as having HIV antibodies, which panicked her.
“I was pretty emotional back then,” Tompkins told jury on Wednesday in the criminal trial against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.
Tompkins, a prosecution witness and the second patient to testify, said she first read about Theranos in Forbes. She later learned more about the blood testing company on Facebook from a friend looking for affordable health options.
Holmes is faced with 12 wire transfer fraud and wire transfer fraud conspiracies. Holmes has pleaded not guilty.
Tompkins said she was convinced of Theranos’ low prices. She told the jury that she asked her doctor in May 2015 to order a blood test for her. She paid for the test out of her own pocket because she was not insured.
“When you decided to go to Theranos for blood tests, did you rely on accurate blood test results?” John Bostic, a US assistant attorney, asked about Tompkins.
“Absolutely,” said Tompkins.
“What is more important to you between cost and accuracy?” asked Bostic.
“Well, I think accuracy is the most important thing when you are undergoing medical treatment, but cost came second,” Tompkins replied.
Tompkins’ test showed she had “abnormal results” and suggested anti-HIV antibodies. Tomkins testified that she had never been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS and had never had any symptoms.
Shortly after getting the results, Tompkins said she called Theranos to speak to someone in the lab. Tompkins said she reached out to a customer service representative who said she “couldn’t move me, and that’s about it”.
“Have you ever spoken to a scientist or a medic in Theranos?” asked Bostic.
“No,” said Tompkins.
Three months after the test, Tompkins went to another clinic to be re-examined for HIV. The results were negative. She was tested again for HIV in August 2021 and received another negative result.
Tompkins testimony continues Thursday.
SEE: Elizabeth Holmes said she was the “ultimate decision maker” at Theranos