As a medical laboratory scientist, I have always been concerned about the use of test devices used by nonmedical people (“Make it easy to reopen drunk driving convictions after breathalyzer scandal,” Editorial, May 1).

The results of any test may have far-reaching effects. A blood sugar testing device needs to report accurate data so that the person with diabetes can make the right health choices. An inaccurate result may have life-threatening consequences.

A breath test is no different. A falsely elevated result achieved by a defective device or an untrained operator can be life-changing. The test subject could be accused of a crime they did not commit.

These devices need to be calibrated, controlled, and documented in a logbook per device manufacturer to assure accurate information. The test-performing officer must also be recorded.

These are best-practice procedures required in medical laboratories that perform trillions of tests annually in this country, and the health of the nation depends on it. The integrity of the scientist is of the utmost importance. The State Police must be held to the same standard.

Carol Houde


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