Staph infection reported among cardiac patients at LA's Cedars-SinaiDec 11, 2012
Five heart patients at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center contracted staph infections last summer after one surgeon implanted them with a new heart valve.
According to an NBC News report, the hospital is not releasing the name of the surgeon who has been linked to the outbreak. The patients all had heart valve surgeries performed by that same surgeon during the same week in June 2011. The surgeon allegedly had an inflammation on his hand that likely caused the spread of the infection. Hospital administration say that although the surgeon wore gloves, they likely developed "microscopic tears" that allowed the infection to pass to patients during the surgeries.
The patients were all confirmed to be infected with staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria. There is no indication from the NBC report on the clinical outcomes for the infected patients. The surgeon is still employed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center but is not currently performing surgeries.
News of the outbreak was reported on Sunday this week. The hospital released a statement, according to the report: “We have apologized to the patients involved, worked diligently to answer any questions they have, and provided appropriate follow-up, support and monitoring,” a hospital spokesman said.
These infections and outbreaks are becoming more common as some medical care facilities are forced to make budgetary cutbacks that often affect the sanitary conditions that are supposed to be maintained in a hospital. It also creates staffing crunches that force unqualified doctors to perform surgeries when they either aren't qualified or are physically unable to do so.
It is likely the victims of the staph infection outbreak will seek legal action for damages they incurred from the medical costs and future injuries they may suffer due to the carelessness during their surgeries. Thousands of surgery patients are injured during their procedures, often due to medical error or unsafe conditions and equipment.