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Surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Spreads Staph Bacteria to Heart Patients

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A surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles spread bacteria through his hands, contaminating several patients during heart surgery and causing infections. According to reports, the unnamed surgeon had inflammation in the skin of his hands caused by Staph bacteria while operating.

An investigation conducted by Cedars-Sinai discovered that five of the surgeon's patients suffered from infections of Staph bacteria, resulting in endocarditis, or inflammation of a heart-valve lining. As a result, several of the patients needed to undergo second surgeries. The hospital discovered the problem in June when 3 patients were diagnosed with endocarditis. Epidemiologists at the hospital analyzed the bacteria and discovered that all three patients had the same strain, meaning the bacteria came from the same source.

Apparently, the surgical gloves that the doctor was wearing developed microscopic tears, causing the bacteria to spread to the patients through the openings. The doctor was performing valve replacement surgeries, which requires surgeons to use thick sutures and tie more than 100 knots, causing extra stress to the gloves. However, Cedars-Sinai acknowledged that the contamination was unacceptable, especially since endocarditis is a life-threatening condition. The doctor responsible for the infections is still a staff member but does not perform surgeries at the hospital.