Defense to make openings in Vegas hep C trial

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Lawyers for a former endoscopy clinic owner and an employee are due to make opening statements in a criminal trial stemming from a Las Vegas hepatitis C outbreak that became public in 2008.

The defense of Dr. Dipak Desai (DEE'-pahk deh-SEYE') and former nurse-anesthetist Ronald Lakeman begins Tuesday in Clark County District Court.

Jurors on Monday heard a prosecutor on Monday say that Desai and Lakeman emphasized speed and profitiability so much that incurable liver disease was spread from patient to patient at a Desai clinic in Las Vegas.

Health officials say at least nine people were infected during outpatient procedures at Desai facilities in 2007, including one who died.

Desai and Lakeman have pleaded not guilty to 28 charges, including criminal neglect of patients, reckless disregard and murder.

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