Tiny Tears in Surgeon's Gloves Cause Big Problems
Cedars-Sinai cardiac surgeon unwittingly infected 5 patients with staph, says hospital.
Published: December 11, 2012
A heart surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles unwittingly gave 5 patients staph infection during valve replacement surgeries earlier this year, says the hospital. Four of the patients needed a second valve replacement operation and are still recovering. The culprit? Tiny tears in the doctor's latex gloves that let bacteria from a skin inflammation on his hand pass into patient's hearts.
Officials at Cedars-Sinai told the Los Angeles Times that valve replacement causes extra stress on the gloves because the surgery requires the surgeon to use thick sutures and tie more than 100 knots. Regardless, "any hospital-acquired infection is unacceptable," says Harry Sax, MD, MHCM, FACS, FACHE, vice chairman of the hospital's department of surgery.
Officials contacted 67 patients who had heart valve replacements with the same surgeon, but no other cases were found. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center conducts about 360 valve replacement surgeries each year and sayds infections occur in fewer than 1% of its cases — lower than the national average.
Staph infection from the staphylococcus epidermis bacteria is usually not a major concern, but infections can turn deadly if the bacteria gets deeper into the body, entering the bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart.
Cedar-Sinai now requires all surgeons doing valve replacements to change gloves more frequently. Some now double-glove during the operations, says Dr. Sax.
© Copyright Herrin Publishing Partners LP. REPRODUCTION OF THIS COPYRIGHTED CONTENT IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. We encourage LINKING to this content; view our linking policy here.
Also in the News...
$30 Million Malpractice Award to Woman Left Speechless by Surgical Fire
Second Victim Dies from ASC Attack
Robots Recall: Da Vinci Warns Customers Arms Can Stall
Can You Trust Your Biological Indicators?
Nurse at Texas ASC Stabbed to Death
CareFusion to Buy GE Healthcare's Vital Signs Division
$4 Billion J&J Hip-Implant Settlement Expected Tomorrow