Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession (5)8 Aug 97  PDF Version 

   Quick Summary: A person falsely accused of a positive drug test can sue for negligence if proper steps are not followed and urine samples get mixed up.

   To prevent wrongful termination of an employee based on an incorrectly labeled drug-test urine specimen, the hospital had a detailed collection protocol.

   The specimen was to stay in the presence of the person from whom it was collected while the specimen container was capped, labeled and sealed. In addition, the contained was to be initialed by the person before it could be sent to an outside lab for testing.

   If proper steps are not followed, and urine samples get mixed up, a person falsely accused of a positive drug test can sue for negligence. DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, 1997.


   A county corrections officer sued the hospital where she was sent for a required physical examination. The officer’s suit alleged the hospital was negligent for mixing up her drug-test urine sample with a sample from another individual, resulting in false allegations against the officer of cocaine use.

   The District Court of Appeal of Florida ruled there were grounds for a lawsuit. The lower court was wrong for throwing out the suit. The officer was entitled to her day in court to try to prove her case, that is, that the hospital had not followed its own strict procedures to insure that drug-test urine samples are not mixed up. Lynn vs. Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Inc., 692 So. 2d 1002 (Fla. App., 1997).