8th Case of Hepatitis C Confirmed - 8 News NOW

8th Case of Hepatitis C Confirmed

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It's been nearly two months since the health district shut down the centers and still the investigation keeps expanding. It's been nearly two months since the health district shut down the centers and still the investigation keeps expanding.

With each week that passes, the Southern Nevada Health District unravels more of the medical web surrounding the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. So far 40,000 people have been notified that they maybe at risk for hepatitis or HIV because of unsafe medical practices at the centers.

The health district has announced an eighth case of hepatitis, just hours before the head of the agency testified in front of a state health committee.

The man in charge of the investigation says it's only a matter of time before they link more cases of hepatitis to the clinics because of a policy to reuse syringes and single dose vials of medicine.

It's been nearly two months since the health district shut down the centers and still the investigation keeps expanding.

Hepatitis C in eight people can be linked directly back to either the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada on Shadow Lane or the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center on Burnham Avenue.

Carl Ricceri had a procedure at the Burnham location. So far he is not infected.

"The doctor said you better go and get tested just to be safe," he said.

He is not part of the massive notification of 40,000 people by the health district. That notification only covers the Shadow Lane clinic. There may still be tens of thousands more who went to the Burnham clinic receiving letters to get tested for hepatitis and HIV.

"It's possible, because we have one case at the Burnham clinic. We have to get access to some records before we can go forward. It's clear something happened there, but the question is how big in scope was that problem?" said Brian Labus with the Southern Nevada Health District.

Metro Police confiscated all of the medical records for their criminal investigation. Labus says the clinics kept incomplete and in some cases false records. He thinks there will likely be more confirmed cases.

"The tip of the iceberg is the people who develop acute disease. Out of the acute disease, we get notified of a small portion of that. So it's sort of the tip of the tip of the iceberg that we know about," he said.

Ricceri says more action needs to be taken.

"We already have a list of about 10 to 13 doctors that have all been involved with these clinics. I would assume to err on the side of caution that the doctors would have had their licenses suspended," he said.

According to the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners, no doctor's licenses' have been suspended at this time, but their investigation continues.

The medical board says the doctor at the center of controversy, Dr. Dipak Desai, voluntarily agreed to stop practicing medicine.

Since the clinics are closed, the medical board says there is no imminent threat. Therefore, the board will not suspend the other doctor's medical licenses' at this time.

Email your comments to Reporter Edward Lawrence

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