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Urologist Reused Prostate Needle Guides

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A federal jury on Thursday convicted Las Vegas urologist Michael Stanley Kaplan of reusing single-use needle guides while treating patients for prostate conditions.

Kaplan, 59, operated Green Valley Urology and reused single-use plastic needle guides during prostate procedures, placing patients at "great risk," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The guides assist in obtaining biopsy samples for testing.

"The packaging on each needle guide clearly warned that they should not be used more than once, but Dr. Kaplan instructed his staff and permitted his staff to reuse them three to five times prior to disposal," U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a statement.

Kaplan used fewer than 10 needle guides while performing about 120 prostate procedures from about Dec. 15, 2010, through March 11, 2011, prosecutors said.

"Dr. Kaplan made a decision to reuse needle guides in a manner that caused them to be adulterated for the purpose of enriching himself," Bogden's statement continues. "He also concealed from his patients that they were undergoing procedures with reused needle guides. Such conduct is a felony when performed with the intent to defraud or mislead."

A federal grand jury a year ago indicted Kaplan for conspiracy to commit adulteration and making a false statement to investigators. The charges came after a joint investigation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.

State medical examiners suspended Kaplan's medical license during the investigation but reinstated it after he told investigators a salesmen said the needle guides could be reused despite being labeled for single use, the Review-Journal reported. The state health board allowed him to continue doing prostate procedures but only under the direct supervision of a third-party expert in infection-control methods.

The Southern Nevada Health District contacted at least 100 of Kaplan's patients to suggest they be tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C but reported no positive results among those who were tested, according to the Review-Journal.

The federal jury on Thursday acquitted Kaplan of making false statements to investigators for the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations but convicted him of conspiracy to commit adulteration.

Kaplan faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He is free on a personal recognizance bond and is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 30, 2015.

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