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Las Vegas Endoscopy Doctor Gets Life in Prison for Hepatitis C Outbreak

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Las Vegas Endoscopy Owner Gets Life in Prison for Hepatitis C Outbreak

A former doctor and owner of a chain of Las Vegas endoscopy clinics was recently sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the largest Hepatitis C outbreak in the U.S., which occurred in 2007.  Dipak Desai, age 63, was charged with 27 crimes, including second-degree murder caused by infected medical instruments.  Keith Mathahs, age 77, was the whistleblower who brought the complaint against Desai, but faces probation or up to six years in prison for his involvement in the crimes.

Doctor Prioritized Money Over Patient Safety

Mathahs, who used to work as an anaesthetist and nurse, provided hard evidence against Dr. Desai.  He pled guilty to criminal neglect of patients resulting in death, insurance fraud and racketeering.  The prosecuting attorneys argued that Desai was greedy and sacrificed patient safety by not performing proper hygiene measures, which caused the spread of Hepatitis C.  Specifically, he re-used syringes to attempt to save money.  Desai was charged with the death of 77-year-old Rodolfo Meana, who passed in 2012.  Another patient who testified in his trial died this August as a result of complications from Hepatitis C.  Another nurse, Ronald Lakeman, was also charged and was sentenced to up to 21 years for his involvement in the crimes.

Endoscopy Clinics Linked to 105 Cases of Hepatitis C 

The Centers for Disease Control originally discovered the string of Hepatitis C infections and labeled it an “outbreak” in 2007.  They were able to successfully link 9 cases of Hepatitis C conclusively to Desai’s clinic, with an additional 105 possible cases also linked to Desai’s clinics.  Desai had a stroke prior to his trial and was unable to speak on his behalf.

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