Indian doctor in US surrenders licence after malpractice probe

March 9th, 2008 - 7:17 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 9 (IANS) The owner of a surgical centre in Las Vegas, under investigation for unsafe medical practices, has agreed to stop practising medicine, the Nevada health authorities said. Dipak Desai’s Endoscopy Centre of southern Nevada and five affiliated clinics were shut down Feb 29 after six people contracted Hepatits C at his clinic. He made the decision late Friday voluntarily at the request of the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners “until the board’s investigation into the operations and allegations concerning the centre have been completed,” a board news release stated.

The board did not give a timeframe as to how long the investigations may take.

After health authorities found Desai clinic’s staff reusing syringes and anaesthesia vials, they had to issue a health alert to 40,000 people who took medical procedures at his facility.

Desai’s centre is also under investigation by federal, state and local agencies for charges including over-billing Medicare and Medicaid health insurance systems.

“A doctor giving up his license means that his practice must be dangerous to the community,” Sudhir Parikh, who runs a chain of asthma and allergy clinics in New Jersey and a recipient of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, told IANS.

But Parikh said Desai’s alleged misconduct should not reflect on the largely ethical and hardworking Indian doctors in the US.

“When I was in the medical licensing board in New Jersey, those getting hauled up came from a variety of communities,” he added.

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

He has refused to speak to the media, choosing instead to release a full-page advertisement in a local paper, maintaining that “evidence does not support that syringes or needles were ever re-used from patient to patient at the centre”.

Another Indian doctor linked to Desai’s clinic also resigned from the Nevada State Medical Board but did not turn over his medical license, local media reports said.

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

Inspections Friday of 18 other clinics in Nevada revealed similar unsafe medical practices in at least four of them. Medical teams are now inspecting all 50 outpatient surgery centres in the state, local papers reported.

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