Office permitted to reopen in NLV

North Las Vegas officials on Thursday lifted their cease and desist order against a Lake Mead Boulevard medical office affiliated with a clinic at the center of a massive health alert, saying the office does not pose a risk to patients.

The Gastroenterology Center of Nevada at 1815 E. Lake Mead Blvd., Suite 207, was shut down by the city on Tuesday after it was deemed a public nuisance for its "demonstrated willful failure to observe long accepted and mandated medical sanitary protocols." It could reopen as early as today.

The office is affiliated with the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, which was shut down by Las Vegas officials in the wake of an investigation that found staff reused syringes on infected patients and contaminated vials of medicine that were shared among patients. Six patients have tested positive for hepatitis C.

Health officials have sent 40,000 letters to that clinic's patients, urging them to get tested for hepatitis C and B and HIV.

Three other affiliated medical branches also closed this week after their business licenses were suspended by Las Vegas, Henderson or Clark County officials.

A sixth location, the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada at 3150 N. Tenaya Way, has not been ordered closed but was not open when a reporter visited on Thursday. According to the office's answering machine, its regular business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Officials in North Las Vegas on Tuesday said no evidence had been found to indicate patients at the Lake Mead office were exposed to deadly diseases, and that they closed the office simply as a precaution.

On Thursday, the city issued a written statement saying inspectors had verified that the office "was not equipped to conduct surgical or other invasive procedures that would require the administration of intravenous medications."

"The entire intent was to determine whether there was a threat to public safety," said Brenda S. Fischer, a city spokeswoman. "From our understanding, the threat to the public has been about surgical procedures and anesthesia. Since this facility doesn't perform those, there's no risk."

Fischer said patients need the office to reopen so they can access their medical records and receive physician referrals.

In a letter lifting the cease and desist order, the city specified that the office is allowed "strictly to perform consultations, prescribe medication and counsel and interpret patient laboratory results. No procedures or diagnostic testing may be performed at this location."

Review-Journal reporter Scott Spjut contributed to this report. Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at or (702) 383-0285.