Two Las Vegas clinics that gave at least seven people hepatitis C had their licenses revoked by the city Monday after they forked over a $500,000 fine.
That saved the executives in charge a face-to-face meeting with the approximately 80 angry citizens in attendance who hoped someone would be held accountable for the public health debacle.
Approximately 40,000 former patients of The Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada are undergoing testing for blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV after it was revealed that workers there reused syringes in a cost-cutting move.
The Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, owned by the same group, also will not reopen.
Those who have been tested positive for hepatitis C tell the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the punishment is not enough.
Barbara Botts whose husband died from hepatitis C says those responsible should be held accountable. “I don’t understand why they’re not being indicted” she tells the paper.
The center’s operator, Dr. Dipak Desai is under criminal investigation. He has voluntarily stopped practicing medicine in Nevada.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman says the city was prepared to have an extensive hearing on the clinics, but lawyers for Dr. Desai offered to surrender the licenses and avoid a hearing. They then paid the fine during the city council hearing with two checks for $250,000 each handed over to the city.
That money will go to help patients relocate their medical records seized by police. Patients like Michelle Baltz who has Crohn’s disease and needs to see another gastroenterologist but was told police can only access records by date.
"I don't know when my procedure was done," she said. "I'm walking around with Crohn's disease and I can't even see a doctor" she tells the paper.
Kevin Rexford was in attendance at Monday’s hearing. He left feeling “less than satisfied” with the proceedings.
Rexford, 46, has incurable colon cancer, he says was missed by the Endoscopy Center. He filed and has settled a lawsuit.
“I don’t think they were held to task” Rexford tells the Las Vegas Sun.
Many expected nurses to have to testify at to why they reused syringes and single-patient vials of medication that exposed patients to the incurable virus. Instead the legal team turned over the money.
So far seven patients have been identified with hepatitis C. Several class action lawsuits have been filed. #