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U.S. News

Nevada: Related Endoscopy Clinics Closed

March 5, 2008

On Monday, Las Vegas officials upheld the suspension of a city clinic accused of reusing syringes and medication vials and, hours later, Clark County health officials shut down three other clinics owned by the same medical group.

Attorneys and doctors of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, 700 Shadow Lane, failed to persuade city officials to reinstate its business license in a Monday afternoon meeting. The city revoked the license Friday after investigators found clinic staff had regularly reused syringes, contaminating medication vials, and infecting six patients with hepatitis C. The Southern Nevada Health District last week sent letters to 40,000 ECSN patients recommending they be tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV.

Although ECSN promised to stop the dangerous injection technique, “city business license officials are not confident the practice will stop,” noted a city statement.

The medical practice can appeal the suspension but has not decided how to proceed, said representatives for Drs. Dipak Desai, Clifford Carrol, Eladio Carrera and Vishvinder Sharma.

Hours after Monday’s decision, county agents hand-delivered notices suspending the licenses of the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center and the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, both at 4275 Burnham Ave., and the Spanish Hills Surgical Center, 5915 S. Rainbow Blvd. Last week, state health authorities said the Burnham facility reused vials but not syringes, and there was no evidence of contamination.

County officials said there was no evidence of blood exposure at the three clinics closed Monday, but they were nevertheless shut down “to protect the public,” said Rory Reid, a county commissioner.

“These are serious accusations and call for an equally serious response,” said Commissioner Lawrence Weekly. “We are dealing with deadly diseases and so, to put it simply, it is better to be safe than sorry.”

ECSN patients are eligible to see a physician free at any of 10 University Medical Center’s Quick Care Centers, said Clark County officials. A copy of the letter is required for free testing, and patients may be charged for associated lab fees.

Back to other news for March 2008

Adapted from:
Las Vegas Review-Journal
3.04.2008; Scott Wyland; Alan Choate

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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