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The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winner is Dr. Dipak Desai and the Endocscopy Center of Southern Nevada. They get the award for the following.

The medical director and majority owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, where apparent negligence has triggered the largest hepatitis C scare in Nevada history, is one of the state's most prominent physicians.

He is Dr. Dipak Desai, a former member of the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners who has served as chief of gastroenterology at local hospitals and taught at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Desai was not present when the Southern Nevada Health District announced during a news conference Wednesday that his staff members had contaminated patients with the blood of others.

Health officials said the staff commonly used the same syringe more than once on a single patient while administering anesthesia and used single-dose vials of medicine on more than one patient.

This flawed process could allow a virus from the first patient to contaminate the vial and then be transferred to another patient who received medicine from the same vial.

At the news conference to notify patients of the risks, Desai's business was represented by three doctors and a public relations expert.

Desai did not respond to the Sun's request for comment. The question that would have been asked of him: How, in the era of AIDS and extreme concern about contamination of patients through the use of needles and syringes, could his employees have allowed the transgressions that will now require that 40,000 patients be notified that they should be tested for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Patients are most at risk of hepatitis C, officials said, a disease that presents symptoms in only about 20 percent of the people infected. The symptoms include nausea, jaundice and vomiting, and may lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer, even if no symptoms are present.

Patients who have been given anesthetic at the Endoscopy Center from March 2004 are at risk. Hepatitis C can linger in a body for years undetected. The flawed practices have been corrected, officials say.

The outbreak came to light when three cases of acute hepatitis C were reported to the Health District in January, and through an investigation the district found three others. Typically only two cases of the disease are reported to the Health District a year.

What a disgrace. I'm guessing the medical center used untrained people to do these injections. For medical professionals would know how wrong it is to re-use syringes. I worked as a radiology technician for over 20 years, if told to re-use syringes I would have refused and reported the person who ordered me to do so to management.

40,000 people who went in a routine and very safe test may have had their health endangered by incompetence, stupidity, or cost cutting. It don't matter which, I name Dr. Dipak Desai and the Endocscopy Center of Southern Nevada today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Note- Click here to read the Health Dept report and plan of action. I had a endoscopy done myself back in 1994.


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Comments (7)

I have NEVER worked in any ... (Below threshold)

I have NEVER worked in any medical field, NEVER been trained to do such, and STILL I know better than to do that!

Talk about a real pa... (Below threshold)
Mark L.:

Talk about a real pain in the a$$.

I bet the real criminal her... (Below threshold)

I bet the real criminal here is the person he hired to run clinical operations for not checking to see if the staff were following correct procedure. On the other hand, from my experience, the folks on the State Medical Board are far too often hired in what seems to be the mentality of "it takes a thief to catch a thief."

I wonder if any of the Hep C cases belonged to organized crime? It might be that Dr. Desai is walking in cement shoes at the bottom (of the much shallower) Lake Mead.

Also, the multi-use of sing... (Below threshold)

Also, the multi-use of single dose vials of IV anesthetic was not likely the reason for the Hep C outbreak. It was the using the same poorly measured disinfectant to clean more than one endoscope at a time.


What happened to the state ... (Below threshold)

What happened to the state and federal agencies and watch dog groups that habitually "opress" the medical community? Why didn't they catch and report this? Where are the criminal charges and staff members being frog marched for the 6 O'clock news?

Good thing we have Tort Law to pursue retribution against this company and it's principles.

When will Hill'Obama start telling us this wouldn't happen under socialized health care?

I'm not sure where you're g... (Below threshold)

I'm not sure where you're going with this, Matt.

A case of sloppy and corrupt medicine in Las Vegas. Why am I not surprised?

Maybe you should ask Harry Reid to explain it to you instead of Hillary.

To respond to the first com... (Below threshold)

To respond to the first comment right below the article, they were not untrained staff that reused the syringes. They were RN nurses and assistants that practiced this unsanitary technique because they were getting good money to do so. Not to mention the fact that these nurses were all tested, and NONE came back with any disease whatsoever. They knew what they were doing, and they only became selfish and greedy in the result of possibly killing or altering the lives of 40,000 people.






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