Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada: "It Makes Me Furious"

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Dallas, TXKaren J. (not her real name) is one of many people treated at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. And like many of those people, Karen learned recently that she would have to be tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV because staff at the center reused needles, vials and syringes.

In 2006, Karen had an endoscopy and colonoscopy at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. Almost a year later, she moved from Las Vegas to Dallas. Because of the move, Karen did not hear news reports about the Endoscopy Center. She also did not receive a letter advising her to get tested for Hepatitis and HIV. Instead, a friend, who still lives in Las Vegas, saw the news and phoned Karen to find out if she had been treated at the center.

Syringe & VialsAs soon as Karen discovered that she was at risk for Hepatitis and HIV, she went to the doctor and got tested. She says she feels luckier than most people because, in Nevada, thousands of people were being tested and faced weeks of waiting for test results. She, however, waited only three to four days to find out that her results were negative.

"Those were the longest four days of my life," Karen says. "It was right before my 30th birthday, so, ironically, I was facing my mortality. It was the longest days for my parents and friends, too.

"The first thing I did when I found out that I'd been treated at the center was throw up. I also cried a lot. I started to think about my finances and how things needed to be in place. I started planning for the worst. I thought about the worst case scenario and how I would deal with it.

"Of course, you don't want people to know what you're being tested for because of the stigma attached it. I work in a public place, so I wasn't sure how it would affect my job. It was a non-stop rollercoaster of emotions."

Karen says that one thing that makes her situation so frustrating is that she has had some health problems in the past, and has had to be very careful about medical procedures. "I've been in the situation where I had to donate blood to myself for after surgeries, to avoid potential contamination," Karen says. "So, to go through that, to be so careful, but then possibly be contaminated by a procedure that should have been nothing is very difficult.

"It's hard to be overly excited about the negative test results because you know that someone might be getting bad news and they haven't done anything wrong.

"It makes me furious, really. I don't think financial reasons are worth risking my life or the lives of others. The pain and suffering that I went through—and that others went through—it's unbelievable. Frustrating is not the word. People can be so callous and uncaring."

Many patients like Karen are now investigating a lawsuit against the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, alleging that unsafe practices at the center put them at risk of contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. If you were treated at the Endoscopy Center, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.

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