Trial Begins for Insurance Company in Hep C Outbreak - 8 News NOW

Trial Begins for Insurance Company in Hep C Outbreak

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Former physician Dipak Desai. Former physician Dipak Desai.

LAS VEGAS -- Lawyers are asking Nevada jury to hold the state's largest health management company responsible for sending two women to a Las Vegas outpatient medical clinic where they contracted incurable hepatitis C in 2005.

Attorney Robert Eglet opened a civil trial Wednesday in Clark County District Court alleging that Health Plan of Nevada disregarded evidence that former physician Dipak Desai had a history of medical negligence.

"We are confident that this jury, in this case, will not only send a message to Health Plan of Nevada but to every HMO that if you want to be an HMO, you better do your job right," Eglet said.

Health Plan of Nevada attorneys argue that Desai hid is questionable practices and is to blame, not them.

"He had a 25 year history with a strong reputation and he decided it was more important to do what he did so he took steps to hide this from everyone involved," said Peter HPN's attorney Bernhard.

Plaintiffs Bonnie Brunson and Helen Meyer are in the courtroom for the trial stemming from what Eglet calls the largest hepatitis C outbreak in U.S. history.

Desai isn't there. He denies wrongdoing and faces trial later this year in on separate state and federal criminal charges.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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