A Cedars-Sinai surgeon is no longer operating after giving five heart patients staph infections earlier this year, according to the L.A. Times.
The unnamed surgeon allegedly infected those patients with staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria when his gloves developed microscopic tears during valve replacement surgeries.
“Valve replacement requires the surgeon to use thick sutures and tie more than 100 knots, which can cause extra stress on the gloves,” the Times reported.
The hospital reportedly performs 360 such surgeries each year with a one percent infection rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control in 2010, however, as many as 99,000 U.S. patients die from hospital-acquired infections each year.
“There is no way to keep a room entirely sterile and all the people in it sterile,” said L.A. County epidemiologist Dawn Terashita. “You will always have risk of infection.”
Cedars-Sinai has now mandated that surgeons change their gloves more often during an operation, and some surgeons have chosen to wear two pairs at once. The hospital also paid for four patients' replacement surgeries and follow-up care. The fifth patient was treated with antibiotics.