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Faulty testing leads to children taken from parents

Discussion in 'Other health news and research' started by Viola, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Viola

    Viola Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    This is a very interesting recent documentary about how faulty drug testing methodology resulted in children being taken from parents in Canada. As far as I can remember from the documentary this testing was also used in the US but is no longer now, once the errors were discovered.

    It is just under 40 minutes long


    As it is a short documentary it doesn't go into a lot of detail, but it sounded like this test was taken as gospel without it being checked/verified by an outside agency. It sounded like the victims and lawyers (and possibly their medical advisors) came up with the solution when they realised the test was giving false positives.

    It showed the problem of an over-reliance on tests which have negative consequences for those who get them, even though other evidence points in other directions. It was like it didn't occur to the authorities to question the lab methodology, even when there was evidence against its findings.

    Very worrying.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
    MEMarge, Wonko, Esther12 and 8 others like this.
  2. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    at 7.40 "The hair test promised social workers the certainty of science."

    This states the problem precisely. "Science" is only ever provisional.
    MEMarge, Wonko, Viola and 1 other person like this.
  3. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Everyone involved should be sued for every penny they have then imprisoned.
    Laws need to be amended to deal with this, this is completely unacceptable.
    MEMarge and Viola like this.
  4. Viola

    Viola Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Oh man, similar from the UK. Shows the important of double checking positive results with another lab (see below)

    Police review 10,000 cases in forensics data 'manipulation' inquiry
    Police investigate alleged manipulation at Manchester lab in mass recall of samples from criminal cases in England and Wales


    "In 2012, an open judgment criticised Trimega for wrongly informing a court that the mother of a three- and four-year-old had been using increasing amounts of cocaine and opiates as as she fought to keep her children.

    The court was told that following its error, Trimega had withheld an apology to the mother because it feared rivals would exploit it for commercial advantage.

    “In this respect, Trimega’s attitude does no credit to an organisation entrusted with the responsibility of providing independent expert advice to the court on matters that will affect the lives of children and families,” the judgement states.

    Mr Justice Jonathan Baker told the high court the children would have gone into care had the sample not been checked by another lab. He warned at the time: “Erroneous expert evidence may lead to the gravest miscarriage of justice imaginable – the wrongful removal of children from their families.”

    [my emphasis]
    Valentijn, MEMarge and Wonko like this.
  5. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I watched the entire film, and I found it really shocking. Surely, any kind of testing needs to be tested itself for accuracy on a regular basis e.g. every 6 months or every year. People's whole lives depend on it.

    So, if a particular test is done on hair at Lab One, it should also be compared with results from blood and/or urine and/or stool samples and/or skin samples or whatever is possible for the substance being tested for, with the tests being carried out at independent Lab Two and possibly even independent Labs Three and Four. If they don't all agree then further investigation is required. Surely that is common sense? But then I am aware that common sense is actually not common at all.
    Valentijn, Viola and Wonko like this.

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