A surgeon was fired after getting a hospital cleaner to hold down a patient during an amputation, reports say

Cleaner using mop to clean hospital floor.
The story first came to light after the cleaner was spotted in the OR holding blood-stained compresses, per the Mainzer Allgemeine Zeitung.Pramote Polyamate/ Getty Images
  • A German surgeon was fired after it emerged a hospital cleaner helped during a toe operation.

  • The cleaner is reported to have held down the patient's leg and passed equipment to the surgeon.

  • The patient did not suffer from any complications following the procedure, per the Associated Press.

A university hospital in Germany fired a surgeon after it came to light that he had asked a cleaner to help with a toe amputation in 2020.

News of the incident in Mainz, western Germany, first emerged after a manager saw the hospital cleaner in the operating theater holding blood-stained compresses, local news outlet Mainzer Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Friday.

The hospital's chief executive officer Norbert Pfeiffer said that it was a "routine" procedure, which he said was often carried out by one surgeon, per news agency the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). He made it clear that the surgeon would have been able to easily get support from qualified colleagues if required.

Pfeiffer added that the operation took place at around 3:30 p.m., when many doctors would have still been available to help, per the dpa.

The Allgemeine Zeitung reported that while the patient was under local anesthetic, they became "agitated," at which point the surgeon asked for support.

While the patient did not suffer from any complications from the procedure, per the Associated Press, officials said the doctor was wrong to ask an unqualified assistant to help.

"This should not have happened," Pfeiffer said, per the dpa.

After an inquiry by Allgemeine Zeitung, the hospital said they believed the cleaner had taken a "more active part" in the procedure than had initially been thought, with the cleaner suspected of holding the patient's leg in place and passing surgical instruments to the surgeon.

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