The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners postponed a disciplinary hearing for the majority owner of two Las Vegas endoscopy centers linked to a hepatitis C outbreak until Feb. 24 because he suffered a "severe" stroke, officials said Friday.
Dr. Dipak Desai's hearing was originally scheduled for Sept. 8.
The hearing was rescheduled because a review of the Las Vegas gastroenterologist's medical records indicated "he is currently prevented from any meaningful participation in the preparation of responses to a disciplinary complaint,'' according to the medical board.
Tony Clark, the board's executive director, told the Review-Journal earlier this week that Desai suffered the stroke within the past two weeks in California. He was hospitalized at UCLA Medical Center before being brought home, Clark said.
A stroke is a blockage or bleeding of a blood vessel in the brain. Depending on where the stroke occurs in the brain, it could lead to weakness, loss of sensation, difficulty talking or other neurological problems.
The complaints filed against Desai, and one of his partners, Dr. Eladio Carrera, by the medical board claim that they each performed medical procedures on three patients who later tested positive for hepatitis C, a potentially deadly liver disease.
Investigators with the Southern Nevada Health District and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe seven people contracted hepatitis C on July 25 and Sept. 21 because of unsafe injection practices by nurse anesthetists.
The procedures occurred at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada at 700 Shadow Lane.
Health officials believe an eighth person contracted hepatitis C at the facility in 2005.
A ninth person has been linked to the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center on Burnham Avenue.
The sources for the July 25 and Sept. 21 cases have been identified.
On Tuesday, during a legislative health care hearing, a senior epidemiologist for the health district told lawmakers that the medical care facility was aware the Sept. 21 source had hepatitis C prior to the procedure.
"The hepatitis C test was ordered by the Gastroenterology Center of Nevada a couple of years ago,'' said Brian Labus. "We're still reviewing the charts of the July 25 patient.''
The Gastroenterology Center of Nevada is affiliated with the Shadow Lane facility.
Carrera's disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 6-8.
Contact reporter Annette Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283.