New Details Revealed in Hepatitis Investigation - 8 News NOW

Aaron Drawhorn, Reporter

New Details Revealed in Hepatitis Investigation

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When red flags first went off about medical practices at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada the Nevada Bureau of Licensure and Certification moved in. When red flags first went off about medical practices at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada the Nevada Bureau of Licensure and Certification moved in.
Health officials have traced the source of infections to staff using single-dose vials of the anesthetic agent Propofol. Health officials have traced the source of infections to staff using single-dose vials of the anesthetic agent Propofol.

The State Board of Nursing has ordered five nurse anethesists associated with the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada to give up their licenses. The nurses complied, and doctors from the center could be next. It happened at a meeting hosted by Nevada's Division of Health.

Testimony to Legislative Committee on Health Care

When red flags first went off about medical practices at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada the Nevada Bureau of Licensure and Certification moved in.

UMC Offering Help to Medical Center Patients

Eyewitness News obtained a slew of records in the wake of the health scare, including internal memos from the embattled facilities.

Health officials have traced the source of infections to staff using single-dose vials of the anesthetic agent Propofol twice -- allowing the blood of an infected patient to pass to the next patient.

The following centers are now closed:

  • Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, 700 Shadow Lane
  • Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, 4275 S. Burnham
  • Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, 4275 S. Burnham 
  • Spanish Hills Surgical Center, 5915 S. Rainbow Blvd.
  • Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, 2610 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway
  • Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, 1815 E. Lake Mead Blvd. #207

An on-site survey in January resulted in a list of changes ordered by the state. Most notably, re-educating the staff that syringes and needles are for single use only.

The Endoscopy Center required employees to sign off on the changes and the clinic's infection control policy. Also, signs on properly cleaning equipment went up inside the building.

Read the Health District letter sent to patients

But that's little comfort for patients who are worried they will test positive for hepatitis.

"I think that it's just wrong, and I think that everybody should be outraged by what they did to the general public. It's crazy," said one anonymous patient.

Read about the background of the doctors

Meantime, patients wanting answers started showing up at affiliated medical offices, including the now closed Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, where an inspector from the City of Henderson did not get a warm welcome.

"When they locked us out, when we tried to go and work with them, that really did raise concern to us -- that there could be a public health risk at this facility," said Henderson Public Information Manager Cindy Herman.

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Henderson is helping its employees and residents who may have been exposed to the diseases.

"I think this whole situation is frustrating. People are concerned about their health, their well-being. It creates great stress," said Herman.

New Hep Cases May Not be Linked to Medical Center

The Bureau of Licensure and Certification had visited the Endoscopy Center several times over the years, responding to complaints. The last time trouble was found was over four years ago, and that was on their patient discharge procedures.

No one ever saw anything wrong with their syringe practices, which apparently went on for four years.

Henderson residents who were patients at the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada on Horizon Ridge near Eastern can call the City Attorney's Office at 267-1200 to leave your contact information, according to Cindy Herman, Henderson Public Information Manager.

Email your comments to Reporter Aaron Drawhorn

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