Surgical Objects Accidentally Left Inside 1500 Patients A Year

Did you have surgery this year? If so you may be the proud owner of a “surgical object” left inside you by your friendly doctor.

“When there is significant bleeding and a sponge is placed in a patient, it can sometimes look indistinguishable from the tissue around it,” said Dr. Steven DeJong, vice chair, department of surgery, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill. “Unintentional retained sponges and instruments is a devastating complication for patients and is a national problem affecting every hospital in the country that performs invasive and surgical procedures.”

Loyola has developed a new way to track sponges. It uses a bar code reader and a unique bar code on each sponge.

“When a sponge is removed from a patient, it is scanned back into the system. A surgical procedure cannot end until all sponges are accounted for. If a sponge is missing, the device will alert the surgical team what kind of sponge it is and the time it was scanned in.” This seems like an excellent idea, if you ask us.

Surgical Objects Accidentally Left Inside About 1,500 Patients In US Each Year [Science Daily via Digg]