Doctors to Determine Desai's Medical Status - 8 News NOW

Doctors to Determine Desai's Medical Status

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LAS VEGAS -- The doctor at the center of the hepatitis C infections appeared in court today for the first time in months. As the health of the several patients infected by hep C continues to deteriorate, Doctor Dipak Desai's health was the focus of the action in court.

Doctor Desai walked into court as a judge began the process to determine if he's medically fit to assist in his own defense. Prosecutors say hazardous sanitary conditions at his endoscopy clinics resulted in at least seven patients infected with hepatitis C.

Prosecutors say they fear Desai will fake the extent of his reported 2007 stroke and other medical problems to delay the trial.

"There was some indications that he's had subsequent two bouts of fainting spells, transient eschemic attack, things like that we think need to be looked at by a neurologist," said Deputy District Attorney Michael Staudaher.

Doctor Arlyn Valencia leads Sunrise Hospital's stroke program. She has not seen Desai's medical records, but tells us how a team could test a patient with comparable symptoms.

"There are some functional studies that we could use -- path imaging. Positron tomography will be able to see what parts of the brain are firing, what parts of the brain are functioning and what parts of the brain are not," she said. "It depends on how young you are. There's such a thing as brain plasticity. The younger you are, the better your chances are at regaining some of the faculties back."

Desai's criminal trial is scheduled for March of 2011. But with repeated medical hearings and tests yet to come, pre-trial obstacles are beginning to pile up.

Judge Jackie Glass decided she needed more time to pick the team of doctors who will check to see if Desai is telling the truth. His next competency hearing is scheduled for August 12.

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