There are certain things that should never happen when you have surgery. One is that surgical equipment such as sponges, needles and other equipment used during the surgery should never be left behind. If the surgical team is working together and doing their job, all equipment used should be accounted for at the end of the surgery. Sponge counts should be accurate and you would think that with the all the training and awareness of these safety rules and procedures at all hospitals, that this simple process of not leaving anything behind in a patient’s body would be followed 100% of the time.
Instead, while The Joint Commission (tjc.org) recognizes these events as “never events”- mistakes that should never occur, time and time again, we hear about a patient that had surgery and a surgical towel or other item was unaccounted for at the end of the surgery. If these “never events” are so well known, why do they continue to cause unnecessary harm and disability to so many of our clients? Why aren’t steps being taken to eliminate these events from occurring at all?
Hospitals and doctors like to call these retained surgical items or “RSIs.” The truth is that the surgical item was not retained, it was negligently left behind due to negligence and violations of patient safety rules! In a recent study this never event was analyzed again and the conclusion reached is that there is still a need for continued training of surgical team members so as to avoid complications from left behind surgical items.
We have represented patients that have suffered unnecessary and avoidable complications due to surgical items not be accounted for. The disability and harm caused by such events is horrific. Infections, abscess formation, inflammatory reactions, further surgical treatment, disability and unnecessary pain and suffering causes tremendous financial hardship and unnecessary anxiety when it occurs. For more information on this ongoing problem visit: https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/24524864/natural-history-of-retained-surgical-items-supports-the-need-for-team-training-early-recognition-and-prompt-retrieval/pubmed