Heart Surgeon at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles Unwittingly Infects 5 Patients

Written by Sabrina Rodak | December 10, 2012 | Print  |

A heart surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles unknowingly infected five patients during heart valve replacement surgeries earlier this year, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The five patients were diagnosed with endocarditis in June. The infection was caused by an identical strain of bacteria and was linked to a skin inflammation on the surgeon's hand. Tiny tears in the surgeon's latex gloves caused bacteria from the surgeon's hand to pass into patients' hearts, according to the report.

Four patients needed a second valve replacement surgery and one patient was treated with antibiotics. The hospital covered the cost of the patients' care, including follow-up treatment and all related surgeries, according to the report.

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The surgeon remains a member of Cedars-Sinai's medical staff but no longer performs surgeries at the hospital. In addition, all surgeons performing valve replacements are required to change gloves more frequently, and some are wearing double gloves.

Cedars-Sinai performs approximately 360 valve replacement surgeries a year and infections occur in fewer than 1 percent of cases, which is lower than the national average, according to the report.

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6 Strategies to Prevent Multidrug-Resistant Organism Outbreaks

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