Police recommend criminal charges against Desai in hepatitis outbreak

The thousands of Southern Nevadans who want to see Dr. Dipak Desai behind bars could get their wish.

In their final report submitted to prosecutors, Las Vegas police recommended criminal charges for the doctor and others in his medical clinics for their roles in the hepatitis C outbreak blamed on unsafe injection practices.

“Dr. Desai is definitely at the top of the list,” said Capt. Al Salinas, head of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau.

In the massive case file submitted Tuesday, police recommended Desai and the others be charged with criminal neglect of patients, a felony.

The investigation culminated in a final report that was nearly 100 pages along with more than 10,000 pages of supporting documents and medical files, Salinas said.

“One of the biggest undertakings that we’ve ever had to handle,” he said of the investigation, which began shortly after health officials announced the outbreak in February 2008.

District Attorney David Roger said no decision on filing charges will likely be made until January. Not only do prosecutors have to review the massive amount of evidence, but the two-man unit that will handle it is preparing for the trial of Lacy Thomas, the former chief of University Medical Center charged with giving illegal hospital contracts to his friends.

“It’s going to be a while,” Roger said.

Desai’s lawyer, Richard Wright, said he would not comment on the report.

“They didn’t send me a copy,” he said with a laugh.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281.

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