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Nurses allege Athens hospital falsified COVID-19 test results

Landmark Hospital on Sunset Drive in Athens

By Joe Johnson

A group of nurses allege that a hospital in Athens was falsifying COVID-19 test results, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Gwinnett County Superior Court.

The suit, filed by four anonymous “Jane Doe” nurses, asks for a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent Landmark from receiving new patients or transferring any patients to other hospitals.

“Landmark fabricated negative results so as to continue to be able to discharge patients to make space for new admissions and avoid the negative publicity and oversight that would result if the positive COVID-19 results were disclosed,” the lawsuit alleges.

One nurse who currently works at the 42-bed critical care facility on Sunset Drive and another who formerly was employed by Landmark recently spoke to 11Alive television news.

They said Landmark purposefully sent throat swab tests to the lab at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center that only analyzes nasal swab tests, knowing that they would result in a negative test.

The nurses also said Landmark retested patients who previously tested positive in order to get a negative result.

“When they had someone who would turn out positive, they would re-do the test so that it would come back negative and they would say that it was a false positive,” one of the nurses told 11Alive.

A nurse told 11Alive that she was fired for performing a test that came back positive because they didn’t have a doctor’s order for the test.

The lawsuit alleges that Landmark did not test any patients who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 until June 4. It also says a patient tested positive for the disease a day after being discharged from Landmark.

“While we cannot comment in detail on pending litigation, we can assure you that we will vigorously investigate allegations and defend our hospital and its staff against misleading and false claims,” Landmark Hospital CEOA Marie Saylor told 11Alive. “Landmark Hospital of Athens follows CDC, state and local guidelines as well as established protocols and procedures for COVID-19 testing.”

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