Dr. Dipak Desai, the owner of an ambulatory surgical center under fire for unsafe medical practices, agreed late Friday to stop practicing medicine, the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners said.

Desai, majority owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, made the decision voluntarily at the board's request "until the board's investigation into the operations and allegations concerning the Center has been completed," a board news release stated.

The Shadow Lane facility became the focal point of a massive health alert when health officials found clinic staffers reused syringes and vials containing anesthesia medication. Six center patients contracted hepatitis C because of the unsafe medical practices, health officials say.

The center is being investigated by federal, state and local agencies on a number of fronts, including a probe into Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Larry Matheis, executive director of the Nevada State Medical Association, said he believes Desai's action was appropriate.

"That is a good step," he said.

Desai's move came two days after five nurse anesthetists associated with his clinics voluntarily surrendered their licenses at the request of the state nursing board.

In response to a Review-Journal public information request, the board released the names of five nurses who surrendered their licenses on Wednesday.

They are Linda Hubbard, Keith Mathahs, Ralph McDowell, Vincent Mione and Vincent Sagendorf.



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