And now for the next act in the Ohio Rape Kit Follies: the Ohio Department of Health has advised hospitals to discontinue use of sexual assault evidence kits produced by longtime suppliers Pickaway Diversified Industries after investigators at a state crime lab found evidence of DNA contamination from an employee involved in assembling the kits.
PDI, a Circleville, OH-based nonprofit that, as the Plain Dealer and other news sources archly note, “employs people with developmental disabilities,” has been producing the standardized kits for hospitals statewide since the early 90’s, but had been accused of occasional missteps, such as “improper biohazard stickers," prior to the recent investigation, in which the same trace DNA was found in five unrelated rape kits. Officials are still unsure of the extent of the contamination. Though the state discontinued business with PDI before the contamination caper unfolded, they had encouraged hospitals to use up the PDI kits remaining on the shelves.
Attorney General Mike DeWine thankfully reprieved PDI’s developmentally disabled employees, attributing the error to poor supervision. PDI may now face reimbursement fees for the kits, which cost $120 for a pack of 10. Which is sad—the company has a single Facebook liker (that’s a word because we said so) and their website looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1994. “It financially could have a very serious impact on our business,” PDI Director Tammy Alvoid affirmed to the PD.
Ohio hospitals signed a contract two years ago to supplant PDI with North Carolina company Sirchie. Because the state can't bother with establishing quality control guidelines for sexual assault evidence, they were manifestly impressed that Sirchie totally did. Sirchie also does not sneakily substitute biohazard stickers with improper Triforce triangles, upside-down pentagrams, and Mortal Kombat medallions.
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