Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Retained Objects Rare But Serious

Following up on a story yesterday about Hartford Hospital's probation and the patient who had a 13-inch medical instrument left in his body after gallbladder surgery, the Courant reports that a study published last year in the Annals of Surgery, which looked at 153,263 surgeries, "estimated that sponges, needles or surgical instruments are left in a patient's body one time in 7,000 surgeries, a rate of 0.014 percent. The study found that discrepancies in the final count of items — one cause of leaving objects in patients — increased with longer surgeries, late procedures and changes in personnel during the operation. Another study, published in 2003 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the risk of retained objects increased significantly in emergencies, surgeries during which unplanned changes occurred and in patients with higher body mass indexes." DPH records show that in Connecticut, hospitals reported 65 cases of leaving "retained objects" in patients during the four-year period from mid-2004 to mid-2008. Read more.

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