Life Sentence for Doctor at Heart of Hepatitis Outbreak

Dr. Dipak Desai of Las Vegas is eligible for parole after 18 years, and his co-defendant received a term of eight to 21 years in prison.

Two central figures involved in the Hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas that began in 2007 were sentenced to long prison terms last week. News media in the city reported that District Judge Valerie Adair sentenced Dr. Dipak Desai to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 18 years and Ronald Lakeman, a nurse anesthetist, to eight to 21 years in prison. Both were convicted in July 2013, Desai of second-degree murder and Lakeman of lesser charges in connection with the death of a patient named Rodolfo Meana.

Desai, 63, owned the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, and Lakeman was his assistant. The evidence showed employees reused syringes on more than one patient while administering anesthesia. The clinic closed and is now in bankruptcy after state health authorities alerted about 40,000 people in 2008 that they might have been exposed to the disease.

At sentencing, Adair said there was "no worse betrayal of trust" in society than what Desai had done to his patients, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Jeff German reported.

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