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Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:27 PM

Surgeon's infected hands led to hospital staph outbreak

LOS ANGELES -- Five heart patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center contracted staph infections after a doctor operated on them with bacteria on his hands, the hospital said this week.

The doctor, whom the hospital declined to name, had an inflammation on his hand when he implanted replacement heart valves into five patients last June.

He wore gloves, but they developed microscopic tears, the hospital said, causing the infection to pass to patients.

All five became infected with the staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria, the hospital said.

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/10/15818069-surgeons-infected-hands-led-to-hospital-staph-outbreak?lite

Hospital people...wouldn't it be policy to NOT operate with such an inflamation, even with gloves?

36 replies, 2418 views

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Reply Surgeon's infected hands led to hospital staph outbreak (Original post)
joeybee12 Dec 2012 OP
gateley Dec 2012 #1
joeybee12 Dec 2012 #4
gateley Dec 2012 #19
TwilightGardener Dec 2012 #2
joeybee12 Dec 2012 #8
sendero Dec 2012 #18
joeybee12 Dec 2012 #24
kestrel91316 Dec 2012 #10
dballance Dec 2012 #12
Avalux Dec 2012 #11
gkhouston Dec 2012 #34
dballance Dec 2012 #3
joeybee12 Dec 2012 #7
dballance Dec 2012 #13
joeybee12 Dec 2012 #15
KT2000 Dec 2012 #5
joeybee12 Dec 2012 #6
Horse with no Name Dec 2012 #17
slackmaster Dec 2012 #9
Arkana Dec 2012 #31
slackmaster Dec 2012 #32
elfin Dec 2012 #14
Horse with no Name Dec 2012 #16
Care Acutely Dec 2012 #20
Horse with no Name Dec 2012 #21
w8liftinglady Dec 2012 #25
Horse with no Name Dec 2012 #26
jillan Dec 2012 #22
Horse with no Name Dec 2012 #23
ellie Dec 2012 #27
BlueToTheBone Dec 2012 #28
tofayel Dec 2012 #29
Arkana Dec 2012 #30
DollarBillHines Dec 2012 #33
xchrom Dec 2012 #35
byeya Dec 2012 #36

Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:31 PM

1. Did he know he had staph? Was he taking antibiotics? If he didn't know, he didn't know,

but if he DID -- NO WAY should he have performed surgery!

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Response to gateley (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:41 PM

4. The story is brief, but it does sound like he knew...

Because I doubt they would have been able to test for it once they found out about the staph infection...sounds like they worked backwards connecting the patient.

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Response to joeybee12 (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 01:26 AM

19. I'm speechless.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:35 PM

2. How did the bacteria survive the insane surgical scrubbing?

They use antimicrobial agents to scrub with. Between that and gloves, it's hard to imagine this happening. I would have assumed, had the story not specified when the patients were infected, that the bacteria was on his hands and infected them afterward, when he examined them post-op--doctors really do suck at washing hands between patients.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:45 PM

8. Hard to really tell from such a brief article, although...

I do smell a lawsuit coming!

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Response to joeybee12 (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:50 PM

18. I smell..

... five lawsuits.

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Response to sendero (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:50 PM

24. Yup!

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:47 PM

10. Surgeons tend to be somewhat obsessive with their scrubbing pre-op.

I know - one of the many hats I wear at work is that of surgeon. Heart surgeons are EXTREMELY obsessive and controlling because they do such high level work.

That said, you can scrub an open sore 'til the cows come home and you can't get rid of the bacteria oozing out of it. We learned in vet school that you shouldn't do major abdominal or thoracic or orthopedic surgery when you had a hand wound/lesion because you wouldn't be able to do a proper scrub.

The difference, I guess, is that I make $100-200 average per case for my time in surgery at my practice. A cardiac surgeon makes probably $10-20k for same.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:03 PM

12. Thank you for an opinion from someone who is in the medical practice

I'm glad to see someone who knows what they are talking about point out it would be improper to do surgery when you have a hand wound/lesion.

As I said in my other post I think most medical professionals realize gloves are not 100% effective. Nothing is. Also there is the risk of accidentally cutting a glove since surgeons are working are working with sharp instruments. This goes both ways of course. If I were a surgeon I'd be terrified I might catch some disease if I accidentally cut a glove and exposed myself to a patient's blood and other fluids. Just as I should be terrified I might transmit some illness to a patient by cutting a glove.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:48 PM

11. Maybe he didn't scrub. It's been known to happen. n/t

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 04:54 PM

34. Probably MRSA.

There are strains that aren't even susceptible to bleach. If it was a strain not susceptible to their surgical soap, he could have easily washed properly and still had the stuff on him. I'm wondering about the microtears in the gloves, though. Sounds like the hospital bought those supplies on the cheap. Not Smart.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:36 PM

3. You'd think an Ethical, Moral Person Would not Operate

while they have an infection on their hands. I suspect people in the medical practice probably know that even gloves are not 100% effective because of things like the stated microscopic tears. Not to mention surgeons are using scalpels which by complete accident could cut open a glove and therefore expose a patient to any infection on a doctor's hands.

But hey, you have to keep up your quota of surgeries to make your required billing total for the month and also to keep your hospital privileges.

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Response to dballance (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:45 PM

7. Yeah, seems like a no-brainer...

Wonder if they had tourble with this surgeon before...it's noted that he/she no longer operates.

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Response to joeybee12 (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:09 PM

13. I'm sure he/she no longer operates for CYA reasons

This issue has obviously taken on a life of its own. I'd be truly shocked if this person was still allowed to operate. For the hospital that would mean lawsuits galore even if the patient who died on the table was, unfortunately, not a person any physician could have saved.

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Response to dballance (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:26 PM

15. I still think there are lawsuits coming...needless pain and suffering...

I wonder how long it takes to treat that type of infection and what kind of problems a patient with it develops.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:16 PM

5. Surgery makes the money

It is the number one source of revenue for hospitals. Is there pressure on the part of surgeons to operate?
It should be investigated to determine whose idea it was to proeed with an inflammation on the hands of the surgeon. This could be common practice.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:44 PM

6. Or at least a lot of other shortcuts taken...nt

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:40 PM

17. Especially ELECTIVE surgery. n/t

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:47 PM

9. How horrible. Fear of something like that happening is one of the reasons I decided not to go...

 

...to medical school.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 04:11 PM

31. Yeah, me too.

Well, that and:

--Fear of blood
--Fear of puke
--Fear of other people's urine and feces
--Fear of pretty much any bodily fluid that doesn't come from me


But most of all, the idea that someone could live or die depending on my level of skill freaks me the fuck out. No matter how good at it I got, I would constantly live in fear--and I just could not do that.

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Response to Arkana (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 04:40 PM

32. I considered a career in clinical psychology, and tested the waters for that as well.

 

I decided that I didn't have the patience needed to deal with the kinds of problems that many people impose on themselves.

I think psychologists and psychiatrists do some wonderful work, but a lot of it is emotionally taxing and rewarding outcomes are rare.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:15 PM

14. Almost lost a relative from botched care there a year ago

Supposedly "the best" for her kind of cancer surgery. Got an infection, nearly died and then found out they left something on her.

Took a long time to heal, now goes to another LA hospital as well as MD Anderson.

If I lived in LA, I would NOT use Cedars. Have a sister who works in XRay there - her stories are truly scary about lax care.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:37 PM

16. As a nurse, I had an infected wound that was oozing profusely

I was on antibiotics...but I refused to go to work because of the patient population that I dealt with.

I got written up for not going to work--even though my physician advised me against it.

I imagine that a physician has more latitude with his own scheduling...but I imagine the bean counters would frown upon having to cancel five cardio-thoracic surgeries.



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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 12:57 PM

20. HA/NA make me want to go on a rampage w/a baseball bat sometimes

OK, a Nerf-bat. But still.

Preach, preach PREACH infection control and then pull utter bullshit, just like that. Makes ya crazy.

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Response to Care Acutely (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:23 PM

21. They will preach it and document that you were informed of infection control procedures for Medicare

and Joint Commission requirements, but it is a rare facility that doesn't force their healthcare employees to work when they are ill or otherwise contagious.

I work in Texas and it has always flummoxed me as to why ALL of the states do not combine their nursing workforce and why each state has it's own Board of Nursing, etc. Centralizing it only makes sense because then nurses couldn't run from issues in one state to another and it would also ease the shortages in certain parts of the country.

The reason, IMHO, is very obvious. They do not want a centralized nursing organization because they do not want a union that would indeed force standards that could not be overlooked by the corporate overlords who now run healthcare.

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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:53 PM

25. don't get me started.

I caught c-Diff from a patient's family member.
I began treatment,but would not be relieved from duty with a work-related illness.
They allowed me to work,knowing my diagnosis.I WAS obsessive about washing my hands.
So I had the runs constantly,washed my hands constantly, in wonderful Right-to-work Texas.

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Response to w8liftinglady (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:59 PM

26. Eegads...that stuff can kill a compromised patient

But yeah, I know what you are talking about. I have worked while on IV antibiotics....sicker than most of the patients that I was taking care of.

It is horrible!

I was playing with the Google one day and actually found a paper that was written that referenced me working and infecting patients by someone who works for the Texas Department of Health when they were called in to investigate. They also noted that the hospital forced me to work. A lot of good it did...but what was really horrible (in my opinion) that my role in the process was as an aside to another hospital employee that worked with active TB and that was what the paper was actually about.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:25 PM

22. My daughter was hospitalized for 7 months in 2006 - you would NOT believe

what I saw. Part of the reason she was there so long was because of hospital infections.

Have you ever heard the expression that you go into the hospital healthy and end up sick?
Yep.

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Response to jillan (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:49 PM

23. Oh I would believe it

I have seen things that nightmares are made of...

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 03:01 PM

27. My father got a staph infection

after valve replacement surgery. The operation didn't kill him. The infection did.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 03:31 PM

28. As far as I know, it is.

We had a surgery postponed because the dr had a slight cut on his hand.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)


Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 04:09 PM

30. Oh god, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Jesus Christ, you have to be a special kind of stupid to go "Hmm, infected wound on my hands? Yes, I think I shall stick them in other people's bodies!"

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 04:53 PM

33. My cousin is a surgeon and says to go to a hospital only if you are out of options.

This kind of thing is far more prevalent than AMA admits.

Ironically, his mother beat simultaneous bouts with breast cancer and lymphoma.

She went to have the stent (shunt?) removed from her chest and staph killed her.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 05:43 PM

35. Du rec. Nt

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 06:34 PM

36. If doctors want lower malpractice insurance they should stop malpracticing.

 

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