When the I-Team first exposed the allegations of medical malpractice at the Valley Eye Center, the phone didn't stop ringing. According to two local attorneys, the number of alleged victims has skyrocketed. The I-Team's Colleen McCarty takes a look.More>>
Some southern Nevadans learned first hand from the hepatitis crisis that regular oversight of medical facilities is vital to protect public health. During its investigation of a local Lasik clinic, the I-Team uncovered another type of medical facility that remains largely unregulated. The I-Team's Colleen McCarty has the latest.More>>
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A Lasik doctor who lost his license in the state of Ohio for what its board called, "slash and dash" patient care, has set up shop in Las Vegas. According to three of his patients, his bedside manner hasn't improved. This time he's accused of practicing medicine without a license.
Dr. Vikas Jain and the Valley Eye Center face two malpractice lawsuits, with a third soon to be filed. All by victims who allege the former doctor took part in either their pre-operative or post-operative care, and as a result, changed the way they look at the world, permanently.
"I can't see. I can't see up close, and far away everything is distorted," said patient Carrie Cipollini.
When Cipollini had laser vision surgery in January of last year, she says she considered it a business decision. She says her boss, Vikas Jain, insisted an employee of the Valley Eye Center shouldn't wear glasses. So the office manager became the patient, and says the result put an end to her career.
"There isn't really too much they can do about it right now, unless I have another surgery," she said.
Hours before Cipollini's procedure, Peter Golovets says he too sat in the operating room at Valley Eye Center. Once a carpenter, Golovets says he can no longer see to work, "When you see both eyes, it's still double vision."
Cippolini and Golovets have both filed lawsuits against the Valley Eye Center, its surgeon, Dr. Stella Chou, owner, Dr. Anamika Jain and her husband, Dr. Vikas Jain. Among the allegations are medical malpractice, negligence and fraudulent concealment against Vikas Jain.
According to the complaints, Vikas Jain, known in the office as Ken, conducted the pre-operative and post-operative examinations for both surgeries. Procedures that, according to the lawsuit, only a licensed doctor may perform.
"He's no longer a medical doctor," said attorney Joe Huggins. "We can only assume that the reason he's going by a different name here in Nevada is because Vikas Jain is the subject of a license revocation in Ohio."
In November 2005, the Ohio Medical Board permanently pulled Vikas Jain's license, finding he damaged more than 20 patients. The state's expert testified Jain demonstrated a "very sloppy, shoddy, slash and dash, irresponsible style of taking care of people."
Jain attributes the license revocation to alcoholism. In 2002, the Ohio board ordered him to rehab and Jain says he's been sober ever since.
"I have a history which I have had severe consequences for and I've owned up to," he said.
But Jain refuses to own up to any of the allegations made by Cipollini or Golovets, and he isn't shy about making a few accusations of his own, "It's about as plain as day what's happening, the extortion letter, follow-up for the dollar amount. I'm going to rat you out to everyone. I did it. What do you want? What else do you need?"
Jain provided the I-Team with a letter from Cipollini's attorneys asking him to settle the dispute surrounding her surgery. It goes on to explain that if he doesn't, the firm will notify state regulators about the legal action it plans to file. Another note requests $700,000 for damage to Cipollini's career and her eye.
"I will not be scared. I'm not going to be scared when I know I'm doing nothing illegal or inappropriate. That's basically it," he said.
Jain has filed a countersuit against Cipollini, accusing her of, among other things, taking her own medical records. During an interview, although the claim is not in the lawsuit, Jain alleges she also removed patient charts and used the information to instigate Golovets' lawsuit.
Even if this is found to be true, it doesn't explain Adell Terrassi. He claims he had his surgery less than a month ago, long after Cipollini left Valley Eye Center, "As I'm speaking with you right now, I see your shadow, your head, but I don't see any little features whatsoever."
Terrassi also plans a lawsuit against the principals at Valley Eye Center. He alleges the surgeon, Dr. Chou, failed to examine him before surgery. After, Terrassi says, Vikas Jain provided his treatment and even wrote his prescriptions.
"I'm not a doctor. I don't practice medicine. I'm not here to say whether it's been harmed or not. I think the court of law will sort that out," said Jain.
Both the Nevada Attorney General's Office and the State Board of Medical Examiners have been investigating the Valley Eye Center and its doctors since last fall. The medical board tells the I-Team they may decide by the end of the month how it will proceed. The AG's office decided to re-open its investigation based on new information.