Retained Surgical Sponge Evidence

Power in numbers

A wealth of evidence and organizations advocate counting technology as an adjunct to manual counts to make a meaningful difference in reducing retained surgical sponges which studies show are the #1 retained surgical item.1,2,7,20,21

Knowing is power

Brigham and Women’s Hospital data show:

41% of [count] discrepancies are due to human error.20

Brigham and Women’s Hospital data show:

A discrepancy in the count occurs in 
1 of 8 cases or once per 14 hours of operating time.20

Brigham and Women’s Hospital data show:

Discrepant counts were associated with 
22% of unintentionally retained foreign objects (URFO).21

The Joint Commission data show:

An incorrect or discrepant count in 
6.7% (52 of 772) of URFO sentinel events reported.7

“We know that the actual number of retained surgical items is vastly under-reported, likely accounting for not much more than 10% of the events that actually occur.”12

Ronald Wyatt, M.D., Medical Director, The Joint Commission

Site References

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