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Technology to Prevent Retained Operating Room Sponges

By Josh Silverman on January 23, 2009


Last year I blogged about Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles implementing radio technology to prevent surgeons and nurses from leaving surgical sponges in patients.  Well the technology has made its way to Richmond, Virginia.  The VCU Medical Center (formerly known as MCV) has started using this technology designed to significantly reduce the incidence of foreign objects like sponges and laparotomy pads from being left inside of a patient. 

During abdominal and pelvic surgeries, surgeons may place dozens of sponges inside of the patient to absorb blood and other fluids.  One of the operating room nurse's responsibilities is to keep an accurate count of all sponges that are placed in the patient and an accurate count of all sponges that are removed.  If the count does not indicate that all sponges have been removed, the nurse should notify the surgeon who can locate and remove the sponge before closing the patient. 

According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, upwards of 1 out of 1000 patients who undergo abdominal or pelvic surgeries are injured due to foreign objects being left in their bodies.  This technology allows the surgeon to essential scan the patient for any surgical sponges that may have been missed.

On our website we have a practice section devoted to foreign objects that are left inside of a patient.  Click here to learn more. 

If you or a loved one has been injured because a foreign object was not removed during surgery, please contact us by email or call us at (804) 288-1661 for a free consultation.

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