Nevada doctor guilty in unsafe practices case

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal jury in Las Vegas found a Nevada doctor guilty of conspiracy in a case alleging that he tried to save money by reusing single-use plastic sheaths through which needles are pushed to collect biopsy samples.

Henderson urologist Michael Kaplan could face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine following the Thursday verdict on the conspiracy to commit adulteration charge. Senior U.S. District Judge Philip Pro set sentencing Jan. 30.

Jurors, who deliberated for two days after more than a week of testimony, acquitted Kaplan of making false representations to U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigators.

Kaplan, 59, remained free without bond.

His attorney, Dominic Gentile, said he'll appeal the conviction.

Gentile argued to the jury that no one's health was threatened, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report ( ).

Gentile didn't immediately respond Friday to messages.

U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said the verdict showed that medical professionals who endanger patients for personal profit will be held accountable.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Crane Pomerantz, the lead prosecutor in the case, told the jury that Kaplan was just lucky that no patients became infected.

The Southern Nevada Health District sent letters advising about 100 Kaplan patients to get tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C, but it didn't report finding a positive case.

Prosecutors contended that Kaplan from December 2010 to March 2011 ignored warning labels prohibiting the reuse of needle guides, and didn't tell patients undergoing prostate biopsies the medical equipment was being reused.

Kaplan's medical license was suspended briefly in March 2011 after an investigation by the FDA and Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.

Kaplan's practices came to light after another Las Vegas-area doctor and endoscopy clinic owner was accused in 2007 of infecting at least nine patients and perhaps more than 100 with hepatitis C by reusing syringes and vials of an anesthetic between patients.

That doctor, Dipak Desai, a former Nevada state medical board member, was convicted in July 2013 of 27 criminal charges including second-degree murder. Desai is serving 18 years to life in state prison, and awaits trial next month in federal court on conspiracy and health-care fraud charges.

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