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.