Desai's Stroke Delays Disciplinary Hearing - 8 News NOW

Desai's Stroke Delays Disciplinary Hearing

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The man at the center of the hepatitis C scandal in southern Nevada is recovering after a second stroke.

Doctor Depak Desai and four other doctors own the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada and other offices. The health district says the reuse of syringes and vials of medicine led to at least nine patients contracting hepatitis C.

Doctor Desai has become the face of the largest health crisis in southern Nevada. The health district and CDC identified his practice of re-using syringes and single dose vials of medicine as the cause for the spread of hepatitis C.

There are multiple investigations into Desai, his partners, and his surgical centers.

It's been seven months since health inspectors uncovered the problems. The outrage has not diminished as seen in the latest health district board meeting.

Now Desai missed a planed state medical board pre-disciplinary hearing. Desai's attorney was supposed to hand over a witness list, evidence for the disciplinary hearing, and Desai's testimony defending his medical license.

His attorney told the board she has not been able to work with Desai on the information because of his stroke.

The hearing was postponed six months until February 24, 2009, but also moved to Las Vegas.

Health conditions may have affected the medical board disciplinary hearings, but it will not affect the criminal case.

"Investigators will continue investigating regardless of the health conditions of targets," said District Attorney David Roger.

Desai is not the only target. Sources say nurses with intimate knowledge of the unsafe medical practices talked with detectives. Charges will center on nurses who refused to talk and other doctors associated with the surgical centers.

Detectives have not given a timeframe for charges.

"When they feel they have a case that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, we will move forward," said Roger.

The State Medical Board of Examiners has scheduled a September 23, 2008 status check. The board wants an update on the condition of Desai and may order a review by a board appointed physician.

The board eventually could revoke Desai's license, suspend him, fine him, force him to do more training or reprimand him.

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