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You reminded me of an interaction I had recently while getting my blood taken at a Quest office. To make small talk while I was sitting there in a chair waiting for the needle, I asked the tech if he had heard about Theranos or Elizabeth Holmes. He had not.

I explained that she ran a Silicon Valley startup that was trying shrink this little cubicle area we're in here down to the size of an ipad.

I thought he might identify with the difficulty if not absurdity of that mission. His response surprised me:

"Good idea."

"Well, actually, it turned out to be a giant fraud. She's been indicted and is awaiting trial."

"Not surprised. You know how much money this industry is worth? Big Blood isn't going to let that happen."

I let him focus on his work after that.

There was one time I went I for a physical from a "doc in a box". I was new in town and needed a physical to get some money for my HSA before a deadline.

I drank water before going in for my urine test. I never did a urine test... And remember vividly peeing in the waiting room as I left, thinking it's weird I didn't do a urine test. But I didn't care as it was through away results, I just needed a formed sign for my money.

Well, somehow I got results back for a urine test. When I questioned it... They said, nah no way its wrong... I did a test.

that could easily be fraud. you should report things like this to your insurance company.

Ya know - I agree with the Tech's first statement - it's a FANTASTIC idea. Too bad it's technically infeasible. really too bad that she lied about it over and over.

I'm not really surprised that he'd never heard, though. The story was much more popular in the startup/tech space than the medical space. I know a bunch of people working in molecular diagnostics who hadn't heard about it while it was happening - though they've all been incredibly fascinated and engaged by the recent book.

Were you surprised? The job is not that different in what is asked of you and what is given to you than any other unskilled work. We just have a tendency to think of doctors as smarter than auto mechanics when they both are pattern-matching repair jobs, and lab techs as more capable than CVS cashiers when they are both just routine operator jobs.

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