Patients considered the source of the country's largest Hepatitis C outbreak took the witness stand Wednesday in the criminal trial of former doctor Dipak Desai.
Desai and nurse anesthetist Ronald Lakeman are accused of reusing syringes in a way that contaminated vials of the sedative propofol and infecting patients.
The two patients, who prosecutors asked the media not to identify, said they trusted and relied on the employees at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.
One of the "source" patients told jurors he went in for a colonoscopy at Desai's clinic back in 2007. He had tested positive for Hepatitis C seven years prior. He said he was careful in letting doctors know he had the virus. Prosecutors allege it was bad medical practices at the clinic that caused the patient's disease to be transmitted to unsuspecting people.
"I didn't want anybody contracting it from me," said the patient who did not want to be identified. "I wanted them to know that so they can take the necessary prosecutions."
Defense attorneys questioned the patients' accounts and how they were injected with the sedative propofol. Seven patients infected with Hepatitis C were genetically linked to Desai's clinic. Rodolfo Meana later died.
As these patients took the stand, Desai stared straight ahead. Desai and Lakeman have pleaded not guilty to murder, criminal neglect, theft and fraud charges.
More patients and Meana's family are expected to testify this week in a trial that's expected to last two months.
Before witnesses took the stand on Wednesday, a female juror was dismissed for violating court orders. The judge told lawyers the juror discussed her financial hardships and testimony with other jurors. She was replaced with an alternate juror.
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