Doc whose Fremont clinic infected patients with hepatitis seeks N.Y. license to practice - LivewellNebraska.com
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Doc whose Fremont clinic infected patients with hepatitis seeks N.Y. license to practice

Dr. Tahir Ali Javed, whose Fremont cancer clinic infected dozens of patients with hepatitis a little more than a decade ago, has applied for reinstatement of his medical license in New York.

Javed, 47, fled to his native Pakistan 10 years ago, when the severity of the hepatitis outbreak became known. His medical license in Nebraska was revoked. He surrendered his New York license.

In Pakistan, Javed became a public health official and reportedly blamed the situation in Nebraska on anti-Muslim sentiment.

Unsanitary practices in the Fremont clinic led to hepatitis C infections in at least 99 patients, several of whom died.

A Fremont-based group called the HONOReform Foundation grew out of the tragedy. It promotes sanitary practices in health care settings. The “One and Only” campaign that it advocates seeks to educate nurses, doctors and others of the importance of using syringes and needles only once.

Javed could not be reached for comment. His Omaha attorney, Michael D. Jones, said he hadn't had contact with Javed in years.

Antonia Valentine of the New York State Education Department, which rules on restoration of medical licenses, confirmed that Javed has applied for reinstatement.

Valentine said in an email that the application will be investigated and referred to two committees before the New York Board of Regents rules on it. It's unclear when the ruling will be issued. Valentine declined to provide further information.

Steve Langan, executive director of HONOReform, said, “Sick people were injured, some of them died, and no justice has been done.”

The Nebraska Attorney General's Office pursued the revocation of Javed's medical license in 2003. It accused him of unprofessional conduct and gross negligence for allowing staffers to reuse syringes, which contaminated large bags of saline with hepatitis. The saline was used to clean out implanted devices that administer chemotherapy and other medications to cancer patients, infecting patients with hepatitis in the process.

The allegations said Javed had been warned multiple times that his office used unsanitary practices in administering the drugs and continued to allow it.

The Attorney General's Office also accused him of exploiting a patient to conduct a sexual relationship with her. The attorney general alleged that Javed, a cancer specialist, gave the woman a false diagnosis and told her not to seek treatment elsewhere because other providers would inform her insurance company and she wouldn't be able to get insurance again.

Documents indicate that Javed admitted to little. The exploitation accusations were dismissed. Javed chose not to contest the case against him and agreed to a settlement in which his Nebraska medical license was revoked in September 2003.

New York records show that Javed surrendered his medical license in that state in 2004, after he chose not to contest the Nebraska allegations.

Travis Bennington, a Fremont attorney who co-wrote a book on the case with one of the victims, Evelyn McKnight, said Javed fled to his native Pakistan before any criminal charges could be filed. McKnight is a co-founder of HONOReform.

Jean Schafersman of Hooper, Neb., whose son was fighting cancer when he was infected with hepatitis from treatment in Javed's clinic, expressed astonishment over Javed's New York application.

“How does that work?” she asked.

Schafersman recalled the excellent relationship that her son, Byron, had with Javed. Her son was 19 at the time that he had to battle cancer, then hepatitis. Jean Schafersman said he is healthy now, married and the father of a baby girl.

The Schafersmans know they can't harbor anger forever, the mother said. They have forgiven and moved on, she said.

As for Javed's apparent desire to practice again in the United States, she said: “Well, I am not too happy about it.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1123, rick.ruggles@owh.com

twitter.com/rickruggles




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