Eliminating Retained Surgical Sponges With Technology

We at the law firm of Curtis & Lucero in New Mexico understand that any type of surgery, however minor or major, generally involves some of the same surgical techniques. For example, controlling bleeding during surgery is important, but you may have given little thought to the methods that your surgeon uses to maintain visibility. In most cases, this is done with surgical sponges. 

To make sure that nothing is left behind in your body at the end of a surgery, the surgical team may perform x-rays. However, according to Modern Healthcare, this method misses the presence of sponges in a body cavity about 33 percent of the time. That may be why these pieces of gauze are the most common retained surgical items. They account for 69 percent of objects left behind after surgery.

If the surgical team uses only pre- and post-procedure counting methods to ensure all the sponges are accounted for, you have an estimated one in 64 chance of retaining a sponge. Combining both the x-ray method and the counting method improves your odds, but some surgery centers are now experiencing a 100 percent removal rate by employing radio frequency technology. Every one of these sponges include an RF tag that can be located and counted by a scanner.

The reduction in costs to the hospital in eliminating this particular surgical error is significant. The savings to you could be your health and well-being, or even your life. More information about surgical oversights and other errors due to hospital negligence is available on our webpage.

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