Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | 1:49 p.m.
The Nevada State Board of Nursing reports that five certified nurse anesthetists voluntarily surrendered their licenses Wednesday pending the resolution of an investigation into dangerous and irresponsible injection practices at Endoscopy Center of Nevada, which led to the largest hepatitis C scare in the nation.
Health officials say 40,000 people are at risk of hepatitis B, C and HIV because nurses used syringes more than once when administering anesthetic to individual patients, which contaminated medicine vials. Then, the nurses used the vials, which were intended for single use, on multiple patients, passing on infection.
Six people have been infected with hepatitis C because of the injections. Nurses told health officials they were ordered to reuse syringes and single-dose medicine vials by their boss, Dr. Dipak Desai, one of Nevada’s most powerful and politically connected physicians. Desai allegedly asked them to perform the dangerous procedures in order to save money, health officials were told by the nurses.
The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners is also investigating the situation, as are Metro police and the District Attorney's Office.