Ambulatories Speaking Out About Alleged Violations

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Two of the Northern Nevada ambulatories cited by health officials say they're completely baffled about reported violations.

The Digestive Health Center in Reno and the Sierra Center for Foot Surgery in Carson City agree reports of health violations have no merit, but their explanations are considerably different.

"We have corrected what the state wanted us to do," says Dr. Dennis Yamamoto from the Digestive Health Center. "We've never had an infection associated with the procedure at the Digestive Health Center."

Yamamoto says the Digestive Health Center has always been up to sanitation standards, but on Wednesday health officials told him he had to change his ways. For the past 12 years, Yamamoto had been re-using certain equipment, but only after cleaning it meticulously. Now, the State says he must throw out each piece of equipment after every single use.

Yamamoto is complying with the new standards, but says any patients who were treated before this change have no reason to worry.

"This is not re-using syringes," says Yamamoto. "This is a practice that our (governing) council signed off on and we've been doing it for quite a while."

Health officials cited the Digestive Health Center as having issues with their sterilization of equipment. The report also cites the Sierra Center for Foot Surgery in Carson City, saying officials observed staff members re-using syringes last week. A lawyer representing the center says an anesthesiologist, independent of the clinic tried using the same syringe with a different needle several years ago only to be told it violated policy.

The clinic says the report caught them completely off guard and couldn't be further from the truth.

"Their concern is there's a public perception that something is wrong," says attorney Jim Wilson. "In fact, there is nothing wrong. They execute safe care for their patients."

Wilson says it's too early to decide on whether any legal action will be taken. As for right now, he and the Digestive health Center want to re-assure everyone that no contamination has taken place.