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Nebraska Health Agency Targets Doctor in Hepatitis Death
August 1, 2003

The Associated Press


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The state began disciplinary action Tuesday against a cancer doctor linked to a widespread hepatitis C outbreak, citing poor infection control at his clinic.

One patient among at least 99 infected with the liver disease died while awaiting a liver transplant, according to the petition by the state Health and Human Services System against Dr. Tahir Javed.

The petition also alleged that Javed had a sexual relationship with a patient and incorrectly told her she had a fatal disease. After the sexual relationship ended, the petition said, Javed impersonated two doctors and tried to cancel lab tests that had been ordered for the patient by a nurse practitioner. He also discouraged the patient from seeking treatment from another doctor, the petition said.

The petition charges Javed with unprofessional conduct, an action that could result in revocation of his medical license.

Javed's attorney, Michael Jones, declined to comment.

Javed is not the only person under investigation for the outbreak and the state is prepared to file more charges soon, said Richard Nelson, head of regulation and licensure for the state health system.

Nelson declined to say if the charges would be filed against a nurse at Javed's office who is believed to have reused syringes.

Nelson also refused to say whether action would be taken against other health-care professionals who allegedly saw the unsanitary practices in Javed's office but did not notify regulators.

The patients all contracted hepatitis C after being treated at Javed's Fremont Cancer Clinic between March 2000 and December 2001.

A state epidemiologist has blamed the spread on a nurse's failure to follow sanitary precautions, and the petition accused Javed of failing to supervise and ``correct the improper basic infection control practices.''

The clinic is now closed, and Javed has returned to his native Pakistan.

Hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver, causes no symptoms, and most carriers do not know they are infected. It can eventually lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Dr. Alexandre Macedo De Oliveira, epidemic intelligence service officer for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has called Fremont's outbreak the largest of its kind in the nation, and perhaps the world.

Patients have filed at least 70 lawsuits against Javed and the clinic. Attorney Jim Davis, who represents 20 infected people, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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