Nevada's Governor Jim Gibbons is on the hot seat for taking too long to respond to a public health crisis in Las Vegas.
After initially soft-selling the hepatitis C outbreak by saying there would be more cases of hepatitis C if there had actually been “gross negligence” at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, he waited more than two weeks to begin taking aggressive action to restore public trust.
And while the Governor has asked for the resignation from the Board of Medical Examiners, who oversee discipline of doctors, they have refused to step down.
The Gov. citing a conflict of interest as the three are friends and business associates of Dr. Desai who owns the Endoscopy Center.
Instead, the Board of Medical Examiners executive director Tony Clark says the Governor is trying to hide the fact that Dr. Desai was one of his campaign contributors and consulted with the governor when he took office.
Clark says “Maybe the governor ought to resign. He is making us the scapegoat for his ineptitude,” says Clark.
The city of Las Vegas has pulled the business license of the Endoscopy Center and Dr. Desai has agreed to stop practicing medicine.
The other doctors on the Medical Examiners board have not agreed to limit their practices.
On March 11th, Governor Gibbons questioned whether Nevada needs to conduct more frequent inspections of facilities such as the Endoscopy Center, where unsafe practices led to the hepatitis C outbreak and the notification that 40,000 people need to undergo tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
“We do not have enough Highway Patrolmen to stop everybody who makes a mistake. We could inspect (surgical centers) annually and then pretty soon, have we done overkill?”
While the governor apologized for blaming the media for “buffoonery” causing public hysteria, he has not backed off on saying there was no gross negligence at the clinic.
Seven cases of hepatitis C have been confirmed so far and thousands more are being tested after reused syringes contaminated vials of medication.
Hundreds have joined in class action lawsuits against Dr. Desai and his clinics for medical negligence. #