Poster Presentation

Thursday, July 12, 2007
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Thursday, July 12, 2007
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation II
Surgical Sponge Counting: Moving from Manual to Electronic System
Callie Sue Craig, RN, BSN, CNOR, Surgery, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA, Janet A. Lewis, RN, MA, CNOR, Surgical Services, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA, and Stacey Decker, RN, BSN, Surgery, Anesthesia, PACU, Surgical Admission Unit, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
Learning Objective #1: Identify the various human factors involved with the sponge counting process.
Learning Objective #2: Discuss evolving technology that can improve patient safety through decreasing errors in the sponge counting process.

Introduction of clinical problem: Gossypiboma is the technical term for a retained surgical sponge.  It is estimated that there are 3,000 to 5,000 occurrences in the United States each year.  Incorrect sponge counts occur despite the fact that there are recommended standards of practice for correct counting procedures. Despite adherence to these standards, many human and environmental factors are present in the sponge counting process that contribute to errors. These factors include time constraints, delays, interruptions, multitasking, emergencies, fatigue, and resource limitations.  There is a need to reduce human factor(s) from the process and provide validation that no sponges are retained.

The retained sponge event causes repeat surgeries, potential disability, as well as unnecessary pain, suffering or even death. It is estimated $750 Million to $1 Billion is spent every year to settle lawsuits as a result of patient injuries and death related to retained sponges.

Hand counting has been the only method available. In order to reduce the human factors involved, new technology has been developed and is being utilized to address sponge counting.  

A large metropolitan hospital has been the first in the nation to adopt a currently available innovative technology in their operating rooms for counting sponges electronically.  Much attention is being given to enhancing current available technology, as well as, developing new technological modalities to address the potential of any surgical item (i.e. sponges, instruments, accessories) being retained. This is a forward step to provide greater assurance to avoid a retained sponge event in the future.