The physician owner of a Las Vegas area endoscopy clinic and two nurse anesthetists were indicted on 28 felony counts stemming from a 2008 hepatitis outbreak caused by the reuse of syringes and endoscopy scopes. The three men are facing long prison sentences if convicted.
The indictments stem from an outbreak of hepatitis C that took place in 2008. The Southern Nevada Health district was forced to notify more than 50,000 patients from two of physician’s clinics that they needed to be tested for hepatitis and HIV. It was later determined that nine people were infected with hepatitis due to unsafe injection practices and misuse of clinic equipment, and another 105 cases may have been related.
The physician and his employees were indicted on numerous charges, including criminal neglect of patients, performance of an act in reckless disregard of persons or property, racketeering and insurance fraud. The racketeering charge alleges that clinic employees were pressured to whisk patients though outpatient procedures, submit false anesthesia records, and fraudulently bill insurance companies. The charges together carry a possible sentence of over a century in prison.
The physician has filed for bankruptcy protection, has surrendered his medical license, and has suffered a series of health problems. The physician is facing numerous civil malpractice cases from former patients. He settled out of court with one such patient, a man who was infected with hepatitis after being injected with a vial of the sedative propofol that had already been used on another patient.