New Technology to Track Surgical Sponges

The system, which is FDA approved, is being used in all of Loyola’s operating rooms, its labor and delivery rooms, interventional cardiology laboratories in which surgical procedures are performed and its ambulatory surgery sites. As the technology grows, Loyola plans to use it to keep track of all medical equipment used during a procedure.

clipped from www.sciencedaily.com
Every year, in the United States about 1,500 people have surgical objects accidentally left inside them after surgery, according to medical studies.
This technology is very familiar to anyone who has ever used a grocery checkout system. Each sponge has a unique bar code affixed to it that is scanned by a high-tech device to obtain a count. Before a procedure begins, the identification number of the patient and the badge of the surgical team member maintaining the count are scanned into the counter. As an added safety feature, the bar code is heat sealed into the sponge to eliminate any danger of it becoming detached during a procedure.
The counter has a color screen that keeps a running count of the sponges used. It provides visual and audio cues when a sponge is scanned in, scanned out and if one is missing or is being counted twice. Because each bar code is unique, the system will not allow a sponge to be accidentally counted twice.

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