By now most locals have heard about the massive health scare stemming from the procedures at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. The clinic was shut down last week, and now five more related clinics have closed, because of blatant disregard for medical procedures that protect people from blood-born illness. In particular, the clinic was known to re-use syringes and other equipment. Now at least six people out of a pool of 40,000 known patients have tested positive for Hep-C. (Testing continues for Hep and HIV.)
The whole situation is appalling! And the more that comes out about this situation, the worse it gets!
First of all, they don’t even know how far back in time the doctors who owned the clinic where telling their workers to do these bad practices (which they admit they were doing to save money). The Health District has arbitrarily set dates of March 2004 – Jan. 2008. But they have said that the beginning date is based on the fact that they cannot get records dating back before then, so there could be an even greater number of people effected.
Second, one of the doctors, Vishvinder Sharma, is on the State Board of Health! In addition, the majority owner of these clinics, Dipak Desai, was a member of the governor’s transition team (it figures!) and was once on the Board of Medical Examiners, which is the board investigating the current crisis.
This is a nightmare!
I just want to wrap this up by saying that my heart goes out to the people who are impacted by this. To be honest, when the news first broke last week, I thought I might be in danger because I had a stomach procedure in 2004. Thankfully, it was not at one of these clinics. But that was one of the scariest hours of my life until I figured that out! So I have taken that fear I had for myself and I have been thinking about all the people who aren’t as lucky as me in this situation. There are people in our community right now who are without medical care that they need for serious gastrointestinal issues because of this. And there are people who are scared they could have a deadly disease just because they went to the doctor! And think about what this means for those who get these diseases. They have probably infected their spouses or other loved ones unwittingly. That is a horrible thing!
It is shameful what has happened. I can only hope that there is karma or some kind of universal justice for the people who have done this. It is depraved to value profit and money over the life of someone else. It is sick. It is evil.
Update: I just saw on the news that medical syringes cost about seven cents each. So over four years and 40,000 patients, these doctors managed to save about $2,800 (give-or-take). I am deeply angry about this.