Former Clinic Patients Face Long Waits and More Problems - 8 News NOW

Melissa Duran, Reporter

Former Clinic Patients Face Long Waits and More Problems

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Getting in to see a new specialist might take some time. Getting in to see a new specialist might take some time.
Some patients only went to these clinics once or twice but others were recurring patients of the clinic doctors and went there regularly for check-ups. Some patients only went to these clinics once or twice but others were recurring patients of the clinic doctors and went there regularly for check-ups.
Getting prescriptions filled is another concern for recurring patients of the clinics. Getting prescriptions filled is another concern for recurring patients of the clinics.

Some patients of the endoscopy clinics under investigation aren't just worried about being exposed to hepatitis C and HIV, they need to find a new specialist and fast.

Some patients only went to these clinics once or twice but others were recurring patients of the clinic doctors and went there regularly for check-ups. Now many don't know where to turn for help.

Imagine living with constant stomach pain. It's a reality for 67-year-old Margaret Chapman. She has an illness that causes polyps to form in her stomach and it intensifies with stress.

"It's really bad nausea. You feel like you are going to do die. It's just awful," she said.

For several years, Chapman has had those polyps removed at the Endoscopy Center. She needs them removed again, but with her medical records seized by Metro and the clinic offices empty, Chapman is lost.

"It's very frustrating. I don't know what to do. I'm scared to death," she said.

Getting in to see a new specialist might take some time. Gastroenterologist Julian Lopez's office has been flooded with calls from potential new patients. Since the hepatitis exposure was announced last month, Dr. Lopez has seen 15 to 20 new patients a day.

"We are having to work longer hours, even consider working on a Saturday. Patients need help. They need to be evaluated," he said.

If it's an emergency, Dr. Lopez says he tries to see the patient immediately. If not, it's over a two week wait. Other gastroenterologists in town are seeing wait times as long as five weeks.

Getting prescriptions filled is another concern for recurring patients of the clinics. You get a busy signal when you call the clinics.

The Nevada Board of Pharmacists says in many cases, prescriptions can be refilled for one month to hold patients over. If you can't wait, Dr. Lopez recommends seeing your primary doctor or finding a new specialist.

"If they are having problems, they need to make appointment and not be fearful and call gastroenterologist and get in and get seen," he said.

Chapman says she'll do that very thing. The longer she waits the more pain she's in.

A check with the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners shows 47 gastroenterologists licensed in the Las Vegas area. That number includes the doctors being investigated.

If you don't want to find a new specialist, the health district recommends going to your primary doctor.

Email your comments to Reporter Melissa Duran

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