Defamation lawsuit filed by doctor


A doctor associated with the clinic at the center of Southern Nevada's massive health alert has filed a lawsuit accusing a Las Vegas gastroenterologist of defaming him in a newspaper article.

Dr. Albert Mason, who worked at the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada, is suing Dr. Julian Lopez for Lopez's comments in an April 16 article in the Review-Journal.

The article dealt with Dr. Rudy Manthei, a Henderson doctor who was considering buying two clinics at the center of a hepatitis C outbreak and saying he would rehire the doctors who worked there.

The District Court lawsuit, filed Wednesday, cites three of Lopez's comments:

• "None of those physicians in that group should ever be allowed to practice again."

• "I see patients running scared every day because of them. These people don't know who they can trust any more. Everybody in that medical group knew what was going on. They used to go around and brag about how many procedures they could do. That's how they got compensated, for how much they could do."

• "He's (Manthei) just trying to help these physicians who shouldn't be practicing anymore re-establish themselves."

The lawsuit states Lopez's comments were "unfounded, unsupported and defamatory" and that "actual wrongdoing on the part of any entity or doctor has yet to be determined by a Court of Law."

Lopez and Mason's lawyer, Hector J. Carbajal, could not be reached for comment.

Mason works at South Hills Gastroenterology, 2625 Wigwam Parkway in Henderson, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners' Web site shows.

Health care authorities sent letters to 40,000 former patients of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada on Shadow Lane after the discovery of unsafe injection practices at the clinic. The patients were urged to be tested for blood-borne diseases, including hepatitis C, an incurable, potentially fatal condition that attacks the liver.

Seven cases of acute hepatitis C have been traced to that clinic, and another is linked to the Desert Shadow sister clinic on Burnham Avenue.

Those clinics are affiliated with the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada.

Contact Lawrence Mower at 702-383-0440 or lmower@reviewjournal.com.

 

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