New Sponges May Reduce the Number of Retained Objects from Surgery

Posted on Jul 25, 2011
Innovative use of wireless technology may reduce the amount of retained sponges during surgery in DC.

Sponges are the most common foreign objects left inside patients. In emergency situations, doctors and nurses may lose count of the sponges if they are needed quickly-and once they have been used to staunch blood flow, they are often confused with the tissues of the body.

ClearCount Medical Solutions believes that its SmartSponge System-which comes with radio frequency-enabled sponges, a wireless detection device and a collection bucket which keeps accurate count of the sponges placed inside it-will enable surgical teams to keep an accurate count of sponges during procedures.

The key to the system is in the sponges themselves, which are encoded with serial numbers that can be read wirelessly using the SmartWand detector. Using radio waves, the SmartWand can detect sponges both outside and deep inside of a human body, ensuring all sponges are removed before a wound is closed.

Several failsafe procedures are recommended when using the SmartSponges: The package is first scanned with the ID reader, and the sponges are then read and listed by serial number. As the discard sponges are placed in the SmartBucket, the container reads the sponge count again.

Even if the numbers match, surgeons can still use the SmartWand to scan the patient as a final precaution before they leave the operating room.

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Michael J. Shevlin
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Specializing in medical malpractice and serious personal injury cases since 1994.