Doctors Associated With Hep Scare Open New Clinic

Two of the doctors associated with the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada have now opened their own office in Henderson. Doctors Albert Mason and Carmelo Herrero got their business license for South Hills Gastroenterology Wednesday.

The two physicians were partners with Dr. Dipak Desai, who owned the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.

A city official said it was their understanding the two physicians never performed procedures at the Endoscopy Center offices, but they have information saying that may not be true and they are planning to investigate.

40,000 people may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV because staff at the Endoscopy Center reused syringes and vials over a four year period. Six people are thought to have contracted hepatitis C.

A Henderson city official says Doctors Herrero and Mason don't plan on doing any procedures at their new office.

Nevada lawmakers are being told harsher fines, tougher inspections and better communication among regulatory agencies are needed in the wake of the hepatitis crisis. Mandatory accreditation of ambulatory facilities might be required as well.

The ideas came up during a legislative commission meeting.

Currently, the accreditation of ambulatory surgery centers is voluntary. Of the 50 ambulatory surgery centers in Nevada, 32 are accredited. Federal guidelines call for them to be inspected every six years, but some hadn't been visited by a state inspector for more than 15.

This Saturday, the Southern Nevada Health District will hold a community forum to answer the public questions about hepatitis C. It will take place at the health district at 625 Shadow Lane.

There will be a number of speakers and opportunities for questions and answers in the two sessions. The hepatitis C community forum is free and open to public.

Email your comments to Reporter Adrienne Augustus


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