Witnesses quiet on Hepatitis C outbreak

Sept. 30, 2008 at 12:03 AM

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Nevada prosecutors say it will likely be early next year before charges are filed against a medical center that allegedly exposed patients to hepatitis C.

Clark County District Attorney Scott Mitchell said witnesses have been reluctant to cooperate in the investigation of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada for fear they will lose their medical licenses or possibly even face physical retribution, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday.

The newspaper said health officials have advised 60,000 patients of Dr. Dipak Desai's endoscopy clinics be tested for hepatitis and HIV. Authorities say they observed clinic nurses reusing syringes that contaminated vials of anesthetic, allegedly leading to infection of patients.

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