How much should you know about your doctor? In the wake of the hepatitis C crisis in southern Nevada, patients are asking questions about their physicians. But as the Channel 8 I-Team discovered, finding the answers can be tougher than a tricky diagnosis.More>>
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:11 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:11:44 GMT
HENDERSON, NV. -- McCarran Airport officials confirm a Piper Single Engine airplane departed from the Henderson Executive Airport then made an emergency landing on a nearby street due to mechaninical problems.More>>
McCarran Airport officials confirm a Piper Single Engine airplane departed from the Henderson Executive Airport then made an emergency landing on a nearby street due to mechaninical problems.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:00 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:00:21 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Vintner Grill banquet facility inside the Fashion Show Mall has been shut down. According to the Southern Nevada Health District website, the facility was closed Friday after an inspectionMore>>
The Vintner Grill banquet facility inside the Fashion Show Mall has been shut down.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:34 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:34:21 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A family is in awe of how many lives their son touched. The funeral for Marcos Arenas, a 15-year-old boy apparently killed over an iPad was held Friday. Marcos was a freshman at BonanzaMore>>
The funeral for Marcos Arenas, a 15-year-old boy apparently killed over an iPad was held Friday.More>>
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:27 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:27:34 GMT
LAKE MEAD, Nev. -- Thousands of people are expected to go to Lake Mead this weekend, to cool off and relax. While there will be lots of fun on the water, the National Park Service rangers and Nevada DepartmentMore>>
Thousands of people are expected to go to Lake Mead this weekend, to cool off and relax.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:27 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:27:45 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Federal felony charges were filed against a Las Vegas man for attempting to destroy a local children's autism learning facility by fire and explosive devices, Nevada's U.S. Attorney DanielMore>>
Federal felony charges were filed against a Las Vegas man for attempting to destroy a local children's autism learning facility by fire and explosive devices, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said Friday.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:59 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:59:58 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada says the Clark County school board may have opened itself up to legal problems in appointing a new superintendent late Tuesday. A private citizenMore>>
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada says the Clark County school board may have opened itself up to legal problems in appointing a new superintendent late Tuesday.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:40 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:40:18 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital will maintain its federal funding despite not meeting some of the government's requirements. The hospital came under scrutiny for its discharging procedures.More>>
The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital will maintain its federal funding despite not meeting some of the government's requirements.More>>
Friday, May 24 2013 5:05 PM EDT2013-05-24 21:05:30 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County Grand Jury has indicted Michael Smith on murder and assault charges in the shooting death of a man in January. Michael Smith is accused of killing Carlos Bell on Jan. 14,More>>
The Clark County Grand Jury has indicted Michael Smith on murder and assault charges in the shooting death of a man in January.More>>
Long before the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada became a household name, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners has suffered it critics. A consumer watchdog group has named it among the 10 worst boards in the country, three years running.
In 2007, the board investigated nearly 800 complaints. That same year it took action against 24 doctors leaving many to wonder whether it protects patients or physicians.
Michael Washington never appreciated the ease of oral medication until swallowing his insulin was no longer an option. The diabetic is one of more than 100 people who contracted hepatitis C from the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.
"I was the very first one," he said.
Now, more than a year later, Washington struggles with both diseases.
"When Michael first came in, we weren't quite sure what was going on," said his attorney Edward Bernstein. "Michael and dozens of the people who are hepatitis C positive as a result of the treatment at the Endoscopy Center are frustrated with the process and they're angry. It's one thing to be exposed to this horrific tragedy, and something else to see these doctors still practicing."
According to Bernstein, at least two of the four doctors linked to the Endoscopy Center continue to treat patients. Only Doctors Dipak Desai and Eladio Carrera are enjoined from the practice of medicine.
The State Board of Medical Examiners obtained temporary restraining orders against both doctors two months after the outbreak became public.
"We had a crisis here in southern Nevada and the medical board seems to be sitting on its hands," said Bernstien. It's a posture Bernstein says the board has maintained for years.
A review of the board's recent disciplinary activities reveals a slow process. Of the two dozen actions taken in 2007, only one involved an investigation initiated the same year.
Louis Ling is the board's new executive director, "We're talking about are there ways to modify the system, to speed it up, to allow for the ability to get to practitioners who might be having problems and catching them at an earlier point, instead of letting it ball up to the point where when we finally get there, we have too many hurt patients."
One case in point is Dr. Kurt Buzard. He was arrested in 2003 for cocaine possession while wearing a sheet, a dog collar and little else, according to police. A month later, Buzard entered a no-contest plea to a drug-related misdemeanor -- his second such offense. While continuing to practice medicine in 2006, the medical board publicly reprimanded Buzard for unprofessional conduct.
It wasn't until a malpractice complaint the following year, Buzard's fifth, that the board rendered his license inactive.
It leaves many to wonder what it takes to have your license revoked in Nevada.
"Implicit in that question is that revocation is really the only thing that matters, and quite frankly by the time you get to revocation, very often its been a failure of the system. I would like to see the system going in a different direction," said Ling.
So would Bernstein, "The process has not been fair to the people who the process is supposed to protect."
People like Washington, "The part that bothers me is why me?"
Patients are now left to wonder if the doctor who changed their lives will ever be held accountable.
The board's recent activities may signal a change. Last week it took action against two doctors outside of its formal hearing process who'd been under investigation for more than a year.
What about all of those complaints that did not result in any action? We can't tell you what happened to those because they're deemed confidential. We'll examine the veil of secrecy over the board's processes Wednesday.