Skip to comments.(Las Vegas)City shuts clinic, with harsh words for owners
Posted on 03/02/2008 6:58:14 AM PST by radar101
Official: Staff told to reuse vials, syringes to save money
Turns out, it was greed.
Dr. Dipak Desai, one of the states most prominent physicians, willfully chose to mortally hazard his patients for profit by operating an endoscopy clinic fraught with cost-cutting sloppiness, a Las Vegas city official said Friday.
Desai, who was a member of Gov. Jim Gibbons transition team in 2006, is the majority owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, the source of a disease outbreak thats caused the largest hepatitis C scare in the country, according to health officials, who said 40,000 people who received anesthesia while undergoing endoscopic procedures there, including colonoscopies, must be tested immediately for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. The clinic was one of the busiest of its kind in Nevada.
When Jim DiFiore, manager of the citys business services decision, suspended the facilitys license Friday, he cited previously undisclosed findings by health investigators who inspected the clinic in January.
DiFiore said in a letter to the clinics owners that Desai ordered his nurses to reuse syringes and reuse single-dose vials of medication when administering anesthesia to patients who received endoscopic procedures. The practice, which allowed cross contamination of patients blood, caused six people to become infected with hepatitis C.
Desai did it to save money, DiFiore said.
The state Licensure and Certification Bureau, which oversees the ambulatory surgical center, allowed it to stay open because the dangerous procedures were corrected.
But DiFiore quoted a health investigator who said, Its very hard to believe that they wont do it again, when explaining why he was shuttering the clinic.
The fact that, once caught, you have agreed not to engage in a technique well known to the medical community to subject patients to death or serious illness again does not persuade me that you wont do it again, DiFiore wrote.
Desai and the other Endoscopy Center owners would not comment for this story, on the advice of their attorneys, Abran Vigil and Alan Sklar.
DiFiore, who referred to the investigators from the Southern Nevada Health District, the Licensure and Certification Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a tiger team, said he was told by a CDC officer that the Endoscopy Center practices were so obviously dangerous it was like driving the wrong way down the freeway.
I do not believe that there is any department of motor vehicles in this country that would not immediately revoke the driving license of a driver when given credible evidence that the driver had driven the wrong way down the freeway every day for the past four years, he wrote.
Citing more information provided by the health investigators, DiFiore said many nurses knew the technique was dangerous to patients, but they were ordered by administrators, mainly Desai, to engage in the practice in order to save money.
Some followed Desais orders and risked contaminating patients with life-threatening diseases, while others disobeyed him, DiFiore wrote.
Desai used to sit on the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, which has now launched an investigation into the clinic, which is also owned by Dr. Vishvinder Sharma, Dr. Eladio Carrera and Dr. Clifford Carrol.
Dr. Jim Christensen, an allergist who is on the board of the Health District, said the allegations in DiFiores letter elevate the situation from malpractice to criminal behavior.
District Attorney David Roger promised a massive investigation into what occurred at the clinic.
My docs always explained that it was hospital outpatient "just in case of a tear or perforation" - which would require pretty immediate surgery.
Anybody in the entire chain of decision should be subject to civil and criminal penalties. What in the hell were they thinking when this was done even once?
An endoscopy center is typically set up much like an ambulatory surgery center. Likewise, the center should have emergency plans for immediate hospital transport in the unlikely event a procedure becomes complicated. At this point, I couldn’t wouldn’t venture a guess about what contingency policies and procedures the Las Vegas quack shop had in place.
One thing's for sure... When this came out, I checked to be sure that my mother hadn't gotten any or her medications from this piece of s**t before she died of cancer. Had she done so, I'd be waiting for him the day he steps out of prison, and happily gone to prison myself.
I certainly hope that there's a special place in hell reserved for health care workers who do this sort of thing.
I've had colonoscopies at my gastroenterologist's office, however it's in a medical complex with a hospital attached, so in a worst case scenario, I suppose that a patient could be in the ER within a few minutes.
3rd world values...
Thank goodness we have medical licensing by the government. Who knows what horrors free enterprise would yield?
good point, blech. :)
He should face the death penalty for this.
I have been saying for years that we have been headed for third world medicine. Socialized medicine is just another name for third world medicine.
Never leave your loved one alone in a healthcare setting. it is third world and you will never know what happens to them. Never go to a freestanding privatly owned surgical or proceedural entinty. Everyone there is out to save their job and the pressure is too great. Go to a well respected medical center if you are very sick and to a small well thougt of hospital if you are looking for diagonstics.