Nebraska: Doctor Denies Blame in Hepatitis C Outbreak

Dr. Tahir Javed, who is accused of using unsanitary practices that caused the hepatitis C infections of 99 patients at his Nebraska cancer clinic has denied any wrongdoing. The patients, who were receiving treatment at Javed's Fremont Cancer Clinic, contracted hepatitis C between March 2000 and December 2001. One of the infected patients has died.

Nebraska filed a petition against Javed in July that could result in the loss of his medical license. More than 80 lawsuits have been filed against the doctor. Although the state was not made aware of problems at the clinic until September 2002, two months after Javed left the country, area doctors had warned Javed for months that something was amiss, the state's petition contends.

Javed, who is now Punjab health minister in northeastern Pakistan, told Pakistan's Daily Times newspaper that the allegations are part of anti-Muslim propaganda in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. "There is currently an anti-Muslim campaign in America that is also targeting educated Muslims," he told the paper. But attorney James Allen Davis, who represents about 20 lawsuit plaintiffs, said concerns about Javed were raised more than two years before the attacks.

Javed said he was not responsible for the negligence of his nurses or other staff. He said it is ridiculous to blame him for the outbreak since hepatitis C takes more than three years to develop, the length of time he was in charge of the clinic.

Javed challenged Nebraska to try and revoke his medical license in New York, where he said he remains on four prominent medical boards and can still practice medicine. He also denied allegations of sexual misconduct with a patient.