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Thousands of patients experience surgical errors each year

Millions of people are without health insurance but new federal laws are designed to provide health coverage to everyone. As a result, this means that doctors and surgeons in Providence will likely be busier than ever before, and with the rise of patient numbers, comes a higher risk of surgical errors being made. One of the most common errors that can occur with negligent operating staff is leaving surgical sponges and other items inside the body.

However, the fact is that there is technology that is proven to prevent this kind of error from occurring. The technology uses sponges with embedded trackers so that medical staff can easily detect the presence of the sponge inside the body before the opening is closed. Hospitals that use this technology have not had one problem with surgical errors of this type since. The sad thing is that only about 15 percent of hospitals in the country use it, despite the fact that it is relatively inexpensive.

A recent investigation revealed that thousands of patients every year that undergo surgery experience this error, which can cause a worsened condition, permanent discomfort and even death. When a sponge left inside the victim remains undetected, infection often sets in as the body tries to reject the foreign object. Sometimes it can take months and years before the mistake is discovered and by then, often the damage caused is permanent and life-changing.

Because of the commonality of this surgical mistake, hospitals in Rhode Island, and elsewhere should look into implementing technology that would not only save their patients, but save them money from malpractice suits. Patients who have experienced problems from sponges left inside them after surgery may want to think about speaking with an attorney.

Source: USA Today, "What surgeons leave behind costs some patients dearly," Peter Eisler, March 8, 2013

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