What Doctors Leave Behind

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Brandi Estis Professor Eckhart English 1301, IN 12 October 2012 No Item Left Behind Have you ever wondered what really goes on inside of an operating room? It must get hectic in there, right? There are nurses and surgeons all working to safely perform the surgery at hand, and while hospitals and operating rooms have specific procedures they follow to ensure the safety of patients, sometimes things do go wrong. In most cases surgical mistakes can be fixed, and the patient comes out of surgery safely to begin the recovery process. However, there are cases in which these mistakes go unnoticed and surgical objects are accidentally left behind in patients. More hospitals should adopt the use of preventative measures to decrease these mistakes. The most common items reportedly being left behind in patients are surgical sponges, accounting for “about two-thirds of all retained items” (NYtimes). Recent technology and newer methods have made it easier to reduce the number of cases where surgical sponges are forgotten in patients with a strategy called NoThing Left Behind. NoThing Left Behind is “a national surgical patient safety effort to prevent retained surgical items left in patents” (Harrison Medical Center). This process helps to eliminate the human error when counting and recounting medical sponges by providing three ways to account for surgical objects. The first involves using sponges that can be detected with an x-ray, and the nurses are required to complete a sponge count to verify how many sponges are being used in the procedure. The second option does not require any technology. Instead, nurses use hanging sponge holders, similar to that of over the door shoe holders, as well as a white board to count what kind and how many surgical sponges are removed as the surgery comes to an end. Lastly, surgeons can carefully conduct a wound exam in each procedure

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