Doctors glad governor decided against ouster

RENO — Three members of a state medical board targeted for removal by Gov. Jim Gibbons because of their ties to the owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada said Saturday that the panel will be able to move forward with its investigations now that the governor has dropped his demand for their ouster.

“The governor made the appropriate move to put the focus back on the investigations and resolution of the hepatitis outbreak issue,” said Dr. Daniel McBride, one of the members of the State Board of Medical Examiners initially targeted by Gibbons. “We all share the same concern about that.”

Gibbons on Friday ended his call for McBride and Drs. Javaid Anwar and Sohail Anjum to step down because of their associations or business dealings with Dr. Dipak Desai, owner of the clinic where health officials say unsafe medical practices resulted in at least six patients being infected with hepatitis C.

Gibbons’ press secretary, Ben Kieckhefer, said the governor plans to appoint three temporary board members to step in as the panel deals with matters involving the clinic. McBride, Anwar and Anjum have recused themselves from the inquiry.

“I think the response he initially proposed about our resignations was unnecessary,” McBride said. “The resolution we’ve come to is an excellent one. I’m glad that it’s over and we can move on and address ourselves back to the issues.”

Whoever sits on the panel to review the medical doctors linked to the endoscopy center’s troubles will take the correct disciplinary actions, McBride said.

Anwar, president of the nine-member board, said he was pleased the panel would no longer be “distracted” by Gibbons’ call for his resignation. “The board has some work to do and they need to move forward in doing the work of the people of Nevada and we are committed to that,” Anwar said.

Anjum said only: “I think it is a good decision. We will work as diligently as we can to do the best for the public.”

The physicians were in Reno on Saturday for the regular meeting of the Board of Medical Examiners, the board’s first since the hepatitis C cases and their link to the endoscopy center were reported by the Southern Nevada Health District in February.

After hiring guards to maintain the peace if things got out of hand, the board heard from no Southern Nevada residents during the public comment portion of Saturday’s meeting.

Claudio Baratcart, 72, who underwent procedures at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada in 2002 and 2007, was the only member of the public at the meeting, broadcast to Las Vegas at the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners.

“I don’t think there is any more I can say that hasn’t already been said,” Baratcart said.

Review-Journal writer Annette Wells contributed to this report. Contact reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal .com or (775) 687-3900.

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