Hepatitis Strikes 9th Patient in Las Vegas - 8 News NOW

Edward Lawrence, Reporter

Hepatitis Strikes 9th Patient in Las Vegas

Posted: Updated:
Dr. Desai is under investigation for allegedly reusing needles and syringes on patients. Dr. Desai is under investigation for allegedly reusing needles and syringes on patients.

Eyewitness News has learned about a ninth confirmed case of hepatitis C linked to the health crisis. The case is directly linked to the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.

The Southern Nevada Health District planned on releasing the detailed information about the ninth case of hepatitis C at their meeting Thursday morning. The health district used DNA to match this ninth confirmed case of hepatitis C.

The new case linked to the Endoscopy Center is the first non-acute case. Eight others are the acute form -- the most severe form which can have debilitating symptoms. A person with the chronic hepatitis C may never show symptoms.

The health district sent samples to the Centers for Disease Control. The federal agency matched the chronic hepatitis C strain in a ninth person with the strain from the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.

This new information comes as the criminal and civil cases pick up speed.

A judge ruled Tuesday a civil class action lawsuit will move forward against the Endoscopy Center and its owner Doctor Depak Desai.

The patient's attorney Robert Cottle says a state law capping damages at $350,000 has his clients furious, "For those that have been infected, and there is a lot of them, the cap will be a significant issue. To say to somebody, ‘We will give you medical expenses, but we are only going to give you $350,000 and we have destroyed your life.'"

Cottle says if he can prove gross negligence to a judge the cap can be lifted. That court battle will come next year.

In the meantime, there's a breakthrough in the criminal case. Some of the nurses involved in the procedures have given statements to detectives about the practices of re-using syringes and failing to sterilize medical equipment.

Sources say the nurses who cooperate will not be defendants when the criminal charges are handed down. Those charges could come in the next couple months.

At the moment, the case has not yet been handed over to the District Attorney's Office. Metro detectives are still investigating.

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