2 nurses reject plea deal in Hepatitis C outbreak case
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV)- New developments in the criminal case in the massive Hepatitis C outbreak. A Las Vegas doctor and two of his nurses are accused of reusing single use vials on more than one patient. Video by ktnv.comvideo
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- There are new developments in the criminal case in the massive Hepatitis C scare in which a Las Vegas doctor and two of his nurses are accused of reusing single use vials on more than one patient.
"I went for a routine colonoscopy in 2005 and Dr. Desai was my gastroenterologist," says Karen Morrow.
That's how it started for 40,000 patients linked to former doctor Dipak Desai. In 2008, the Southern Nevada Health District sent out thousands of letters warning of possible infections of Hepatitis B, C, and HIV. For seven people their lives completely changed when test results came back.
"I went and got tested and I tested positive for Hepatitis C," says Morrow.
In late April, one of those victims died of complications from the virus. Now Desai and two nurse anesthetists, already facing felony charges, could additionally face murder charges from prosecutors.
"We believe the state will have a problem as far as the causation issue is concerned with that, however it is their prerogative to go forward and present evidence to the grand jury," says Michael Cristalli, defense attorney for Keith Mathas, one of the nurses.
Thursday morning, Cristalli's client and the other nurse rejected plea deals from the district attorney.
"People need to understand that Keith Mathas who is a nurse anesthetist, not a physician, was an employee at the center and is not Dr. Desai," says Cristalli.
And while Mathas' attorney continues to believe in his client's innocence, victims from the Hep C outbreak say this is more than just a malpractice suit.
"Regardless on whether they were instructed to do that by the doctor that was performing the procedure or not, they had decisions that they could make, and they made those decisions and they affected theme selves, their families, patients," says Morrow.
In seeking justice Morrow says there won't ever be any real winners.
Looking ahead Dipak Desai and the two nurse's face felony charges of racketeering, patient neglect, and insurance fraud under false pretenses. A trial date is scheduled for October 22, 2012.