Bad Blood
John Carreyrou
Contributed by Andrea Barraza
Chapter 10

The next step of Theranos was to test the devices on the army members in Afghanistan. For this, Elizabeth held a speech where she met James Mattis, the head of the U.S Central Command, and Colonel David Shoemaker. Shoemaker immediately noticed that something was wrong, especially because the device wasn't regulated by the FDA. After multiple arguments with Elizabeth, he decided to inform the FDA about this matter. Ultimately, they sent one of their members to the Theranos laboratory where they stated that nothing unusual could be found. Indeed, there was nothing special about the laboratory because it didn’t look like they were actually close to releasing any revolutionary product. As a result, of this Elizabeth accused Shoemaker of lying. After multiple other business meetings, the army decided they would allow the experiment, but with one condition that the blood tests results will have to be compared with the results from another authorized laboratory. Even though this was a great opportunity for Theranos, they failed to keep their promises and do the tests because of that condition.


Elizabeth’s goal was to promote even more her future device so for that she proposes an experiment on active-duty U.S. soldiers. Soon, irregularities occur when scrutiny and skepticism is applied by Shoemaker with respect to the actual validity and existence of a revolutionary product or technology at Theranos. Elizabeth and Sunny immediately take action to avert anything that might jeopardize the reputation of the blood tests performed by Theranos. This reinforces the theme that they are great manipulators since they managed to convince the other members of the army to question the words of the Colonel. Even after striking a reasonable deal where they are offered an opportunity on the condition that there is independent verification, we can see that Elizabeth and Sunny fail to keep their word. Every new deal Theranos negotiated consistently falls through due to the simple fact that the product never worked and the technology never existed at a point where it was marketable at scale in accordance with FDA standards.

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