Could accessories to the doping scandals of Lance Armstrong and other controversial athletes switch pristine blood and urine samples for samples that might show evidence of doping? Yes, as this photo shows. Although a note on the medical office door requested delivery after 1 p.m., these blood and urine samples were delivered to the exterior foyer before 11 a.m. where many passers by had access.
There is also increasing debate about the dependability of medical testimony for injured parties. A recent report in the Daily Breeze, a newspaper located the Manhattan Beach area, explained how many doctors are being paid large consulting fees and speaking fees from private companies that might be abused to influence their reports. From 2009 to 2012, California doctors who participated were paid at least $242 million. Some drug companies are still refusing to provide this information or pay through offshore subsidiaries, so the exact amount is not known.
In many cases, the payments are made to corporations that are not transparently disclosed as owned by the medical practitioners. For example, research by propublica.org shows that Dr. David Shamblaw of San Diego gets these payments from La Playa Medical Group and Clinic. Theses payments exceeded $64,000 in the past three years.
As I reported in the National Sports Business column earlier this month, I just happened to be on my way to a Citibank ATM on March 9 when I saw and photographed three metal boxes of patient blood and urine samples deposited in the foyer of a locked medical office with a sign on the door announcing the office was closed. The note said, “UPS/FEDEX. You were supposed to deliver by 9:30 a.m. Please redeliver after 1 p.m.”
This medical office sign indicated that no one would be there for at least another two hours. That left ample time that could be used by well trained experts to get the boxes and substitute “clean” blood & urine samples of the same blood type. In this area, they could pull the deed off in a mobile medical van just like many others in the area.
There were a total of three metal cases marked as containing blood and urine specimens placed in the medical office foyer. They were marked with detailed information such as the testing company name, route number and driver name. The laboratory specimens were also labeled as “biohazardous” Therefore, in the unlikely event that someone up to no good was caught moving the metal boxes, they could claim that they were trying to return the designated “biohazardous” materials to the senders to avoid any risk of contamination in a public area. In addition, if you read the HIPAA medical privacy texts very carefully, you will understand that almost all videotaping of medical office patients is prohibited without complicated written consent documents, so it is difficult to know who was in the foyer and at what time.