NRI doctor’s clinics raided in US

March 11th, 2008 - 11:23 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 11 (IANS) Federal and state authorities have raided six medical offices of Indian American doctor Dipak Desai in Nevada and seized patient records as part of a joint criminal investigation into his clinics following a hepatitis C outbreak. The raid on Monday followed the criminal investigation by the Las Vegas police and the FBI, which stemmed from a health inspection.

The investigation revealed that at Desai’s Endoscopy Centre of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, nurses routinely reused syringes on patients carrying hepatitis C and contaminated single-dose vials of medicine used on multiple patients, which spread the infection to at least six other patients.

Authorities had to alert some 40,000 patients to undergo blood tests for HIV and hepatitis strains B and C.

Desai agreed Friday to stop practising medicine until the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners completes its investigation.

The board has now asked the attending physicians of the six patients who contracted hepatitis C to follow in Desai’s footsteps.

Desai’s junior partner, Vishvinder Sharma, earlier resigned from the Nevada State Medical Board but has not yet surrendered his medical licence.

Some of the clinic offices shut down last week by officials, however, have been allowed to reopen on an administrative or limited basis.

While the police are probing potential medical negligence involving patient care, state and federal authorities are looking at potential insurance fraud angle.

His clinics have been accused of over billing medicare and medicaid health insurance systems.

Meanwhile, Desai released a statement, carried by a public relations wire service, saying he is not in a position to respond to allegations against him and his clinics on the advice of legal counsel.

“These unfounded allegations will be addressed in a court of law, when facts have been presented and substantiated,” the statement read.

Desai, who hails from Gujarat, had been practising medicine in Nevada for 28 years.

Five nurses working with Desai’s clinics had surrendered their licenses earlier at the request of the state nursing board.

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