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Endoscopy clinic doctor will likely testify

Dr. Eladio Santana Carrera may have struck a deal with the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners, but he has no immunity agreement with the District Attorney’s office, a reliable source said today.

Many assumed the former co-owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, the source of the hepatitis C outbreak in 2007, would also have cut a deal with the district attorney’s office investigating the circumstances around the hepatitis outbreak.

But the fact Carrera doesn’t have an immunity agreement with the DA’s office tells me he’s going to testify against Doctors Dipak Desai and Clifford Carrol, but not admit any culpability himself.

The old “I knew nothing and they’re the bad guys” defense.

Even though he has a deal with the medical board, Carrera will be exposing himself to some rough cross-examination by defense attorneys representing Desai and Carrol, who are likely to want to show that he’s one of the bad guys and may be lying to save his own skin.

Last week, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners approved a sweetheart settlement with Carrera to give him back his license to practice, fine him $15,000, and put him on probation for two years with restrictions.

At that time, the DA’s office had had no contact with Carrera or his attorneys, the source said.

Now one of Carrera’s attorneys is noted criminal defense attorney Tom Pitaro, who didn’t return my call. But Pitaro is no dummy. If Pitaro didn’t hammer out an immunity deal with the DA’s office, it means he didn’t think he needed one.

The medical board knows what Carrera is prepared to say, but he better be a darn good witness connecting the dots. Because it’s one thing to give one out of three doctors a deal to help nail the malpractice case against the other two. But if the Board of Medical Examiners can’t nail their case after giving Carrera such a deal, the public outrage, already at a fever pitch, will rise the level akin to marching in the streets with pitchforks.

The 50,000 people who had to be tested for hepatitis aren’t in a forgiving mood, nor are the nine who contracted hepatitis at the endoscopy center, not to mention the 100 plus others who may have contracted the disease at the clinic co-owned by Carrera and Desai.

And who can blame them?

As far as they know, they now have a fatal disease because of a cost-savings decision.

It’s like when Ford decided it was cheaper to pay wrongful death costs than fix the Pinto, and some moron put it in a memo. Except I doubt there’s a damning memo in the endoscopy case.

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