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Indian doc's practice cancelled over hepatitis C outbreak

April 30, 2008 13:23 IST

A prominent Indian-origin doctor, who is a majority owner of a clinic chain linked to a hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas that may have infected as many as 40,000 people, has been restrained from practising by a court.

Dr Dipak Desai, who works for the endoscopy centre of southern nevada and is its majority-owner, was restrained from practising medicine by clark county district judge David Wall until the investigations by the state are completed.

The US judge issued temporary orders to that effect on Tuesday on the plea of Nevada attorney general Catherine Masto Cortez, seeking stoppage of practice by Desai and his colleague Dr Eladio Carrera, a co-owner at the centre. The request against Carrera is still pending. The doctors are charged with 10 counts each including malpractice, violating patient trust and exploiting the doctor-patient relationship for financial gain. As many as 40,000 people may have been infected with the deadly hepatitis C virus or HIV because of the ambulatory surgical centre's practices, it has been alleged.

Issuing the order against Desai, the judge said the temporary order was warranted because the board of medical examiners "has demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits" of its complaint against the doctor. The judge also said "imminent and irreparable harm will result" if the order isn't issued.

Desai and Carrera are also accused of bringing the medical profession into disrepute. Their clinics have since surrendered their licenses and paid fines of US $ 500,000. Las Vegas city shut down Desai's endoscopy centre in southern nevada after health officials confirmed six people had been infected with hepatitis C because of the unsafe injection practices, which included reusing syringes and medical vials.

 Desai, who has been practising medicine in Nevada for 28 years, is reportedly an alumnus of Gujarat university.

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