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Knee Surgeries Resume in Minnesota

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Knee Surgeries Resume in Minnesota

November 28, 2001
By Associated Press
November 27, 2001

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Elective knee operations have resumed in Minnesota, a week after being halted because of the mysterious deaths of three patients.

The operations were deemed safe by the state's epidemiologist.

Five knee operations were scheduled for Tuesday at St. Cloud Hospital, where two healthy men, ages 23 and 78, died Nov. 11 after surgery. A healthy 60-year-old man died Nov. 16, three days after having surgery at Douglas County Hospital, about 70 miles from St. Cloud.

A type of bacterium called Clostridium sordellii, which produces a potentially fatal toxin when swallowed or introduced into a wound, was found in the youngest victim.

The two other men had similar symptoms, including sudden low blood pressure and abdominal pain, but officials have not determined whether they had the bacteria.

The official causes of death for the three men are expected this week.

The procedures — two knee replacements and one cartilage graft — involved different surgeons, rooms and air systems.

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