Surgical sponges should never be left behind

When you are going in for a surgery at a Kentucky hospital, you may primarily be focused on whether or not the procedure will be successful. However, there are frequent cases where the surgeon completes the operation as planned, but someone else on the team makes a critical error. We at the law firm of Debra L. Broz, Attorneys at Law, PLC, understand that the statistics regarding retained surgical sponges indicate this mistake could put your health at risk.

According to Modern Healthcare, these gauzy surgical devices can be so difficult to identify once they are soaked with blood, pre- and post-surgical counting methods are alarmingly inaccurate. About one of every 64 procedures using this technique result in a sponge left behind in the body cavity. This is the reason most hospitals do not rely on counting alone. When there is a miscount, the follow-up procedure for ensuring that a body cavity has no objects in it is typically an x-ray. Unfortunately, these only detect the sponges 67 percent of the time.

In spite of the known difficulty of removing all sponges, if one is left behind after your surgery, it is called a never event. That means the medical community has recognized it as a preventable mistake that should never happen. One solution that has been developed and may be available to your surgeon is the use of radio frequency tags and scanners. When each sponge has a tag, the surgical team can quickly scan them for an accurate count, and can detect any missing sponges in your body cavity. One team using the technology reported a 100 percent success rate over five years.

More information about medical issues and negligence is available on our webpage.

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