Charges Coming in Hep Scandal - 8 News NOW

Edward Lawrence, Reporter

Charges Coming in Hep Scandal

Posted: Updated:
"The prosecution is going to revolve around things that happen on those two days," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Mitchell. "The prosecution is going to revolve around things that happen on those two days," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Mitchell.

The hepatitis outbreak is the largest public health crisis in Nevada state history. The Chief Deputy District Attorney prosecuting the case says there will be criminal charges and it will involve a number of defendants.

The massive effort includes a health investigation, a federal investigation and a criminal investigation. The DA's Office just found out they will get the names of doctors and nurses who were seen putting patient's health at risk by CDC inspectors investigating this center.

Those inspectors saw syringes being reused and medical instruments not being properly washed among other things. Still, the main case is focused on practices on July 25, 2007 and September 21, 2007.

"The prosecution is going to revolve around things that happen on those two days," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Scott Mitchell.

Mitchell handles all of Clark County's largest fraud investigations. He has daily phone conversations with Metro detectives gathering information concerning the policy of reusing syringes and single dose vials of medication. But it will be Mitchell who decides who gets charged.

"It's just a question of how many people will be charged. Will it be three doctors or four? Will it be three or four nurses?" he said.

Mitchell says he wants to prevent those medical professionals from infecting others with their bad policies. He says charges will most likely be filed late in the summer or in the early fall. The health district identified eight people, and potentially 77 more, who have a hepatitis C strain that can be linked back to the practices at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.

Mitchell says police have enough information and victim's for charges, what they are lacking is witnesses with intimate knowledge of the policies at the center.

"We need people to be civic minded -- to care more about the public health than about their friendships with doctors or nurses," he said.

He adds there is a wall of silence from the medical community. Some witnesses will not come forward for fear of scorn at work while other witnesses do not want to break allegiances with the doctors involved. Mitchell wants medical insiders to know he will cut deals.

"The witness who comes forward first gets the best deal. Most consideration is given to them because it looks like they were motivated by the right reasons," he said.

The bottom line is that the silence will not delay charges and not make them go away. The doctors and nurses involved could be charged with a felony for medical care with criminal negligence.

Email your comments to Reporter Edward Lawrence

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.