Las Vegas Hepatitis Cases Linked to 2 Clinics is 114

According to the South Nevada Health District’s senior epidemiologist, there are 114 cases of potentially fatal hepatitis C virus identified among patients treated at two Las Vegas endoscopy clinics which were shut down earlier this year due to dangerous and unsafe medical practices.

Investigators have indicated that between March 2004 and January 2008, many patients treated at the Edoscopy Center of Sothern Nevada and Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center were exposed to hepatitis C and other serious infections due to the re-use of syringes and vials that are designed for only one-time use.

In January 2008, the clinics were closed and the physicians who operated the clinics, Drs. Dipak Desai and Eladio Carrera, lost their licenses to practice medicine in Nevada.

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Initial reports indicated that as many as 50,000 people in the Greater Las Vegas area could have been exposed due to the unsafe practices at the two clinics.

This week health officials indicated that they believe nearly everyone who could have contracted the potentially deadly virus at the clinic has been identified, and there could be 114 cases caused by the clinics.

Investigators have only been able to definitively link nine of those cases, as the other 105 people diagnosed did have other risk factors or exposures which could have resulted in the virus. However, health officials do not expect the numbers to change much in the coming months.

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease which is spread by blood-to-blood contact. It can lead to liver inflammation, cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.

A number of patients treated at the Las Vegas clinics are pursuing lawsuits against the clinic. However, the insurance benefits available to satisfy all claims appear to be limited and many lawyers have expressed concerns that the collectable funds may be insufficient to fully compensate all victims.


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