Las Vegas Sun

August 22, 2014

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Trial related to hepatitis C outbreak begins in District Court

The second trial in the hepatitis C outbreak — disclosed by health authorities in Southern Nevada in 2008 — begins today in District Court.

The case centers on patients of the former Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada that was operated by Dr. Dipak Desai.

The Nevada Supreme Court lifted the stay allowing the case to go to trial when it determined that nurse David Hambrick, a witness for defendants Teva Inc. and Baxter Inc., “does not possess the requisite skill, knowledge or experience to testify as an expert witness regarding the medical cause of hepatitis C transmission" at the clinic.

This trial consolidates three cases involving plaintiffs Anne Arnold and husband James Arnold, Anthony Devito and wife Donna Jean Devito and Richard

Saks. Plaintiffs argue that they were exposed to hepatitis C through use of contaminated 50-milliliter infusion vials during colonoscopy procedures at the clinic.

Their attorneys argue that vials of propofol that size are meant for long-term sedation of patients in hospital intensive care units, not short outpatient procedures such as colonoscopies.

The lawsuit, filed by the Las Vegas law firm Mainor Eglet, alleges design defect, breach of implied warranty for a particular purpose, failure to properly warn by sending a "Dear Health Care Professional" letter and duty to monitor. The defendants include Teva Parenteral Medicines, SICOR and Baxter Healthcare.

In May 2010, a Las Vegas jury ordered Teva and Baxter to pay Nevada residents Henry Chanin and wife Lorraine a combined $500 million in punitive damages stemming from Henry Chanin contracting hepatitis C after a routine colonoscopy in June 2006.

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