Criminal Justice

Doctor gets life in hepatitis murder case, could win parole after 18 years

A 63-year-old Nevada physician was sentenced to a life prison term Thursday for his role in operating an endoscopy clinic at which unsanitary procedures caused a deadly hepatitis C outbreak in 2007.

Dr. Dipak Desai, who was found guilty of 27 counts, including second-degree murder, could be paroled after 18 years, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. A co-defendant, nurse anesthetist Ronald Lakeman, got an 8- to 21-year sentence after being convicted on 16 counts but acquitted of second-degree murder. Both plan to appeal.

Another defendant, nurse anesthetist, Keith Mathahs, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and testified for the state in the Clark County District Court case. He is expected to get between 28 and 72 months when he is sentenced on Oct. 31.

An extensive investigation traced the hepatitis C outbreak to unsafe injection practices. Syringes used on multiple patients were dipped into the same bottle of propofol, an anesethetic, spread the virus from already-infected patients to others, the prosecution said.

Desai has given up his medical license, the article notes, and has suffered several strokes since the outbreak was disclosed.

See also: “Doctor convicted of 2nd-degree murder over hepatitis C transmissions at endoscopy clinics”

Las Vegas Review-Journal: “The lives affected by Dr. Dipak Desai”

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