Increasingly what happens in Las Vegas is not staying in Las Vegas.
As Nevada comes close to completing the inspection of 50 clinics for safety violations that may have put patients in danger—seven clinics have been found to have “major infection control problems, such as the reuse of single-dose vials” says Governor Jim Gibbons in a release from his office.
Among the 50 clinics, some had sterilization issues and 17 reportedly had minor problems. The rest had no safety violations.
Corrections to the violations were required to be made immediately while the inspectors were on the premises, according to the Governor’s office in all but one of the clinics.
Two clinics remain to be inspected. One is undergoing remodeling and the other was not operating.
So far there are six confirmed cases of hepatitis C, the contagious blood borne liver disease that resulted from shoddy public health practices at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.
And this week another case was confirmed from a patient at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, a facility also co-owned by Dr. Dipak Desai.
All six of his clinics have been shut down or are restricted in practice and Dr. Desai has agreed not to practice medicine in Nevada while an investigation is ongoing. The results of tests on 40,000 former patients at the clinic will take months to complete.
Three doctors, friends and business associates of Dr. Desai have been asked by the governor to step down from the state Board of Medical Examiners and so far have refused.
Gibbons says he may forcefully remove them for “cause”.
In an usual twist, one of the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners who was asked to step down, Dr. Daniel McBride, has instead resigned as the chairman and director of an insurance firm that provides doctors coverage against medical malpractice claims.
The Las Vegas Review- Journal reprints the letter: "Please accept my resignation as chairman and director of Nevada Mutual Insurance Company effective immediately. I will remain as a one of the over 1,500 members of the finest physician owned insurance companies in the State of Nevada."
The company, Nevada Mutual, provides liability coverage to doctors in the state to protect them against medical malpractice lawsuits by patients.
The Board of Medical Examiners is supposed to investigate medical malpractice complaints by patients in the state.
"You can't be working for Nevadans on medical malpractice questions and for a medical malpractice insurance company at the same time," Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In February, 40,000 former patients of the Endocsopy Center of Southern Nevada were told they may have been exposed to hepatitis strains B and C and should be tested for the blood diseases as well as be tested for HIV. Federal health officials call this the largest public health notification of its kind in U.S. history. #