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October 22, 2014

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Clark County doctors face disciplinary hearings

CARSON CITY -- Five physicians, two of them from Clark County, face disciplinary hearings before the state Board of Medical Examiners, which is meeting today in Las Vegas.

Four of the five complaints filed against the doctors are for malpractice. The other one is for a Reno anesthesiologist who is accused of failing to stop using drugs and alcohol.

A complaint filed against Dr. Michael Kaplan, a urologist from Henderson, accuses him of malpractice in treating a 61-year-old woman in March 2001. The woman originally had surgery by another doctor.

But she then developed an obstruction of one of the ureters that carry urine from a kidney to the bladder. She contacted Kaplan, who performed corrective surgery.

But, the complaint says, Kaplan implanted a stent on the left ureter rather than the right. It said he corrected the misplaced stent but in the process perforated the woman's bowel. It was repaired, but the woman developed a pelvic abscess.

The complaint alleges that Kaplan failed to use "the reasonable care, skill, and knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances."

The Medical Examiners Board is allowed to meet in closed session to consider the cases against the doctors, but it must make its decisions in open session. It can dismiss the complaint, suspend or restrict a physician's license, place the physician on probation or revoke the doctor's license.

Dr. Rustica Bernardino of Las Vegas is also charged in a complaint filed by the investigative committee of the medical board.

A 50-year-old woman in 1998 developed deep vein thrombophlebitis and she was admitted to a hospital for treatment.

Bernardino is accused of malpractice in failing to immediately order an ultrasound of the woman when her legs swelled up. The woman had refused to be hospitalized, so the doctor treated her with heat, elevation of the leg and aspirin therapy.

A proposed settlement has been reached between the board and Bernardino, but its details were not available.

The board's investigative committee filed a complaint against Dr. Robert Fliegler of Carson City in the case of a woman who died from a torn aorta.

The woman was admitted to the Carson-Tahoe Hospital in May 2002 by another physician after she complained of chest and neck pain and elevated blood pressure. The first doctor diagnosed her with a pulmonary embolism. Fliegler changed the diagnosis to pericarditis, but he did not order a CT scan, the complaint says.

The patient was discharged with various prescriptions. She returned a week later still complaining of chest pain and her blood pressure was elevated. She was admitted to the hospital again and Fliegler again diagnosed her with pericarditis and did not order a CT scan, the complaint says.

The woman was released from the hospital and about 17 days later was rushed by ambulance to the Carson-Tahoe Hospital where it was revealed she had a dissecting aortic aneurysm. She was transferred to Washoe Medical Center in Reno, and emergency surgery was undertaken, but the woman died on the operating table.

The surgeon in Reno found the woman's aorta "was chronically torn," which apparently had been active for about one month, according to the complaint.

A complaint was filed against Dr. Catherine Goring of Reno for her treatment of a 53-year-old woman who was treated with lithium therapy for several conditions in 1998. Goring, according to the accusation, adjusted the levels of lithium over the years without conducting a blood test.

The patient in July 2002 was admitted to the hospital and her lithium level was found to be extremely high. She was diagnosed with lithium toxicity and dehydration, the complaint says. A proposed settlement has been reached with Goring, but the details were not released.

The investigative committee also filed a complaint against Dr. Tarek Greiss, an anesthesiologist in Reno, who was ordered to undergo therapy for use of Fentanyl, a strong narcotic analgesic. He had a relapse and was directed to receive more treatment for abuse of drugs and alcohol, according to the complaint.

But he continued to experience the same problems. Greiss no longer practices in Nevada and is reported living in Washington state, according to the complaint.

Cy Ryan can be reached at (775) 687 5032 or at [email protected]

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