The Theranos trial

Not sure if anybody’s been following Elizabeth Holmes’ trial.

Recap for those who don’t know what I’m talking about: chemical engineering student at Stanford Elizabeth Holmes gets the idea that we can do lab-grade blood tests using just a drop of blood from pricking a fingertip. Medical professors tell her her idea won’t work. She says fuck it, y’all are wrong, drops from college and uses mom and dad money to start a company to develop a product with that idea in mind. Is joined by boyfriend Ramesh Balwani. Together they raise $700 million dollars, and Holmes is hailed as “the new Steve Jobs.”

Fast forward 10 years later, medical research professors and journalists start poking holes in the company’s claims. The king (queen?) is revealed to be naked, and from the sky start pouring lawsuits and official sanctions until the company goes bankrupt. Holmes and Balwani are indicted on various charges of fraud and conspiracy.

Holmes has just been found guilty of some of the charges against her, but sentencing is postponed until Balwani’s sentencing is pronounced.

Two personal thoughts: this case has been described as a symbol of the pitfalls of Silicon Valley’s culture of hype and greed. But clearly the hype of having a young woman succeeding in the mostly male Silicon Valley is more of an effect of current social culture, rather than just the Bay area culture.

Also: arguably, Holmes and Balwani are equally responsible for the con. It wouldn’t surprise me though if the anti-male bias of justice leaves its mark one more time, with Balwani getting a harsher sentence than Holmes. Bearing in mind, Holmes defense was heavily resting on the argument “I’m a poor innocent woman, Balwani made me do it.”


Adding to the list of Holmes playing the “woman” card: she gave birth to a son in 2021. Can’t help but think that was a calculated pregnancy: who would choose to give birth while being at risk of facing decades in prison, if not to influence the outcome of the trial? Reinforcing that idea is a description of Holmes intended defense:

In June 2019, Bloomberg News reported Holmes and Balwani were looking into a possible defense strategy of blaming the media for the downfall of Theranos and whether journalist John Carreyrou’s reporting caused undue influence upon government regulatory agencies in order to write a sensational story for The Wall Street Journal .[75] Later unsealed documents indicated Holmes’s plans to blame Balwani, who “dominated” her to such an extent she was unable to make her own decisions. “Ms. Holmes plans to introduce evidence that Mr. Balwani verbally disparaged her and withdrew ‘affection if she displeased him’; controlled what she ate, how she dressed, how much money she could spend, who she could interact with – essentially dominating her and erasing her capacity to make decisions.” Holmes may also be preparing a “mental defect” defense, to explain why she was dominated by Balwani.

While at the same time the trial showed that:

Evidence was provided of Holmes’s role in faked product demonstrations, falsified validation reports, misleading claims about contracts, and overstated financials. There was audio and video evidence of Holmes making inflated or misleading claims about Theranos.[4] There were forged documents saying Pfizer and Schering-Plough had validated the company’s blood-testing technology. Holmes admitted to personally manipulating those documents.

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I’ve been following the developments when they come up on my Flipboard. It’s all over but the sentencing.

Yeah, she played the woman card twice; once by blaming the man and then by getting preggers before sentencing (showing once again that she is a very selfish person).

Morally, I think she is at least as bad as Martin Shkreli. If she gets a day less than he got, we’ll know the woman cards worked (women do statistically get less time for the same crime, #equalpayday)


It’s outrageous that she was charged with fraud against investors and not fraud against the public. She was very aware of what they were doing (selling services they couldn’t really deliver with their shitty machine which was proven to be a POS, using third party machines secretly, silencing workers and users who complained or pointed any of these things out), but she has played really well her strong and weak woman in a men’s world card. Yahoo finance released a video prior the trial start that was shamelessly making her defence with these arguments and coming to say that that’s what everyone else does…

… except for “everyone else” was selling apps and electronic consumables crap, and not medical devices. I was speechless after seeing what was going on.


In the end it’s just a simple con though. Maybe a few months in jail and confiscated income. Hopefully she was smart enough to hide a lot of that.


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Fucking fake voice robotic entitled corporate mega bitch.


Need to be more specific than that… :upside_down_face:

OK, I will try. But your whole message was a WTF to me:

What is a “con”? that she’s not going to be charged for sending back shitty, fake test results? I guess that’s a “con” for her, but not a good thing for the rest of the society.

I think she’s facing YEARS unless the defense comes up with something that invalidates the trail, like for example juries talking to the media about their deliberations, and the flaws in their reasoning exposed by these declarations.

Hopefully? Hopefully every single penny she ever had is used for paying back to the people who she scammed and to the society in general. And hopefully she and professional bullshitters like her rot in Hell.

There was a video where you could hear her less manly voice at the beginning of a call, then she switched on her business testicles and went on with her “deep” insights on technology and a better society.

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I showed one of her interviews with her massive eyes and man’s voice to my kids…They thought it was fake :joy:.

I was also surprised there was no thread on this but too lazy to write it up. :clap::clap:

Two points indeed

1.Silicon valley culture, fake it till you make it.
I think that this is indeed fraud and it’s not a defense that other startups get away with fraudilebt promises either.

The medical devices business is one of the most highly regulated there is and there’s little room for bullshittery especially for class II devices.

It either satisfies the analytical requirements , precision and accuracy or it doesn’t. And you can’t hide the details because they will ultimately affect the diagnosis.

Biomarkers for human disease are very chemjcally diverse (DNA , RNA, Proteins and peptides , Antibodies , Lipids, Organic compounds ), can fluctuate at six or seven orders of dynamic range , there’s no one miracle device that can detect all of them with the best sensitivity. A typical pathology lab could have a dozen or more types of instruments and even then will be out sourcing some of their tests.

There’s room to shrink the sample requirement for some tests though, some companies are moving that was with dried blood spots or microsampling devices but they need to be mailed off to specialised labs which will use the appropriate analytical platform for that test under very rigorous protocols and which are constantly vetted by outside equivalence schemes for performance .

The 'I was a silly female ’ defense. Shameful given that she was in charge and the one soliciting the money. So when you are successful you are a strong leader. When you are committing fraud you were abused by men around you ?


I can’t keep realising, especially these last years, how much this is a bullshitters’ World. I mean, it is incredible. It’s good that bullshit has legal consequences.

Especially when she was retaliating against people pointing out problems in the machines. She’s not an innocent inspired visionary. She isn’t. Please find the video Yahoo released before the trial started, watch it, and then ban them from your life. It’s incredible.


I always root for the bad guys unless it involves children or abuse. :upside_down_face:

And I assume you’re trolling. Hopefully.

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Well the company approved test results that resulted in misdiagnosis. This happens statistically but if it was done with their knowledge that is a criminal and harmful act.

IMO the people that relied on unvalidated testing methods and untested machines are the ones liable for any patient harmed. In that field, you should know better or you’re incompetent.

General public doesn’t know the specifics of a business, and they assume that if these things are offered to the public is because they’re legal and have passed any necessary tests. In addition to that, Therenos pretended they got approved from the government and falsely claimed they were working with the army (or that they were using their technology).

I wouldn’t blame the random citizen who gives them their money, or even the clinics or supermarket chains that give it a try to collaborate with them.

The chain selling the tests on Theranos behalf could have liability. But don’t blame the consumers and patients.

I believe the main problem with Theranos was they were fraudulently claiming the tests were run on their technology whereas they were actually just running them on other vendors instruments .

So they were sold directly to consumers or to lab techs? And how were these devices able to be marketed without better independent testing? Some regulatory body is definitely at fault.

Simple con that ripped through a few people’s lives though.