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German doctor fired for letting cleaner help amputate patient’s toe – Reuters

A surgeon at Mainz University Hospital continued the procedure without a trained assistant, management said

A surgeon has been fired from Mainz University Hospital in Germany after deputizing for a janitor who had no medical experience to help with a toe amputation, public broadcaster SWR reported on Friday. The incident, which occurred in 2020, did not add to the patient’s wear and tear, but ended the doctor’s career.

Norbert Pfeiffer, managing director of the University Hospital Mainz, confirmed that the surgeon wrongly decided to carry out the amputation when no qualified assistant was available. “This should never have happened” he told local media.

The surgery was a “routine” procedure that the doctor often performed, and it was conducted around 3:30 p.m. local time, when many other doctors would have been there to help, Pfeiffer said.

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The patient had been given local anesthesia but was beginning to fidget, prompting the doctor to ask the janitor who was cleaning nearby to hold his leg down and pass the doctor’s surgical instruments.

The corner-cutting maneuver was uncovered when a hospital manager observed the janitor in the operating room, his hands full of bloody gauze pads, according to local news outlet Mainzer Allgemeine Zeitung.

Following a newspaper investigation, the hospital admitted that the cleaner had taken “a more active part” in the surgery than they had previously suspected.

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