LAS VEGAS (CN) – In fallout from the used-syringe fiasco, a medical office claims a law firm defamed it by incorrectly naming it in a list of clinics suspected of reusing syringes, in ads in the Las Vegas Review Journal and The Pahrump Valley News. Gazda & Tadayon, the defendant law firm, incorrectly implied that Digestive Diseases Specialists reused syringes and exposed patients to hepatitis and HIV, Dr. Osama Haikal claims in Clark County Court.
State health officials announced in early March that several endoscopy clinics in Las Vegas reused syringes, potentially exposing 40,000 patients to hepatitis and HIV. Law firms quickly began buying print, TV and billboard ads in search of clients.
“Don’t take a chance with your health,” Gazda & Tadayon’s newspaper ads stated, according to the complaint. “If you have tested positive for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV/AIDS, or if you need to be tested, contact us immediately. Call now. We can help.”
Accompanying the print ads was a list of about a dozen “ambulatory surgery centers,” along with Haikal’s private practice, which is neither an ambulatory surgery centers nor an endoscopy clinic, the complaint states.
Gazda & Tadayon’s TV ads stated that the state had shut down Haikal’s practice, the complaint states. Haikal says his office never was shut down, nor was he ever inspected as part of the state’s investigation. He says he has never been cited for any health code violations.
Haikal says his attorneys asked the Review Journal to publish a retraction, but it refused. It merely directed Haikal to a March 13 article in the Las Vegas Sun, which erroneously stated that inspections of his facility revealed “certain minor violations,” the lawsuit states.
The Pahrump Valley News also refused to retract the story, the complaint states.
“The advertisements are disparaging to plaintiff’s business and misleading to readers because they misrepresent that plaintiff has been shut down, and that plaintiff’s patients may have a significant health risk as a result of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS exposure, allegations that are erroneous and unfounded,” Haikal says.
Represented by Bailey & Kennedy, he demands punitive damages.