New Technology Could Prevent Retained Sponges During Surgery

hospital bed

Here is the scenario we often see: a patient goes in for a surgery. The surgery is successful but the patient continues to experience pain and other symptoms without any identifiable source.  Often the patients are treated as though they are whiners or malingerers.  Finally, at some point, the medical providers realize the source of the patient’s pain and problems: a surgical item has been left inside the patient during the surgery.  Of course, this necessitates a second surgery with all the attendant risks, more medical bills and more pain and suffering.  Think this is a rare occurrence?  Think again.

At The Law Offices of John Day, P.C., we have handled many retained object cases involving sponges. Each and every day in this country, surgical teams leave nearly a dozen surgical sponges inside their patients.  While surgical teams are supposed to count the number of sponges in and then count the number of surgical sponges removed prior to closing the patient, miscounts are common.  So Stryker has developed technology which allows the surgical team to scan a master tag on a pack of sponges.  Inside the pack, each sponge has a barcode label fused to it.  The barcode label can be read by the counter even in the presence of blood or other bodily fluids.  As sponges are removed, they are scanned using the hands-free counter attached to an IV pole.  The scanner can then tell surgical staff if any sponges are missing and exactly which sponges are unaccounted for.

According to recent data, 480 hospitals have used the Stryker system in more than 9 million surgeries. During those 9 million surgeries, 170 million sponges have been used and none have been left inside the patient.  Stryker feels so confident about its product that it offers a SurgiCount Promise.  If the Stryker system fails and allows a sponge to be left inside the patient, Stryker will pay up to $5 million in legal costs on behalf of the surgical team.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in the form of a retained sponge or other surgical item, we can help. John Day is board-certified in Medical Malpractice by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys.  In 2010 and again in 2014, John was named Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year for Nashville by Best Lawyers.  And, Best Lawyers has recognized him as one of the best medical malpractice lawyers every year since 2007.

Just give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation in which we will review your case, answer your questions and explain your legal options. If you decide to hire us, we handle all medical malpractice cases on a contingency basis, which means we only get paid if we win.  And because we advance all case expenses, you do not have to pay anything out of pocket to pursue your rights.

Call us anytime at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free).

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