Bad Blood
John Carreyrou
Contributed by Andrea Barraza
Chapter 9

Safeway started showing big drops in terms of their profit, but CEO Steve Burd's secret plan was their partnership with Theranos. He redesigned many of the companies’ facilities into what he called wellness play, a not-so-subtle ploy which consisted of creating luxurious places where people could come and have their blood tested with the help of the Theranos devices. Regardless of Burd’s commitment, no devices arrived and the deadline was continuously pushed back by the owner. In order to prove that it was all a misunderstanding, they organized a blood testing on the corporate campus in Pleasanton. Instead of delivering the devices, they sent a few phlebotomists who drew two samples of blood which later were sent to the Theranos’ headquarters and from there to other laboratories. Many of the tests were also inconclusive. All of this controversy eventually lead to Brud’s retirement, who was deemed no longer suitable for his position as his ideas only exacerbated the financial situation at Safeway.

Meanwhile, Theranos managed to open a laboratory where Diana Dupuy was hired. She was an experienced woman in terms of medical testing and quickly noticed that many of the employers in the lab didn't have the required knowledge to work there and many of the instruments were actually not usable. When she told this to Sunny, he fired her on the basis that her affirmations and claims were false. For several other weeks Diana refused to sign the non-disclosure agreement but eventually she had to do it after Theranos brought better lawyers to the negotiating table.


Here, Carreyrou presents personal accounts of two victims caught in between Theranos’ corruption and its attempts to cover up its massive liability to existing investors. One of them was Burd, who was convinced by Elizabeth that her device would revolutionize the medical world and that Safeway would likewise benefit from that revolution. Time after time, we can see that she was exceptional at making people trust her, even though she never kept her promises nor anything to show for her words. Elizabeth kept on pushing the deadline for the delivering of the devices and always seemed to be able to convince Burd to delay the deadline.

The other victim presented is Diana Dupuy. Once she found out that the laboratory was not actually working as intended, she got fired preemptively because she was close to exposing Theranos’ incompetence and mismanagement in its entirety. Sunny and Elizabeth continued with their obsession for privacy and forced her to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Based on this, we can conclude that the couple attained an indisputable level of power in the business and exercised it in an authoritarian manner, which struck fear into their employees.

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