Some of the most devastating and preventable medical errors that Hawaii medical malpractice attorneys come across occur when medical instruments and sponges are left behind in a patient’s body during surgery. These may seem like freak scenarios, but as any medical malpractice attorney will tell you, these incidents occur much too often for comfort. Researchers believe that new medical sponges that are equipped with a tiny chip can help nurses track sponges that are being used during surgery at all times, thereby helping prevent these errors.
Usually these errors occur as the result of distractions in the operating room. A typical procedure requires dozens, or even hundreds of these medical sponges. If even one of those sponges is left behind in the patient’s body, it can result in devastating complications, including deadly infections.
A medical technology company has now designed a new medical sponge that comes with a tiny RFID chip inside. By merely waving a wand-like device on the patient’s body, a nurse can tell if any medical sponge containing the chip has been left behind in the patient’s body.
Some hospitals have already introduced the wireless sponges in their surgical rooms, and have reported substantial success in preventing these types of errors. Moreover, they report that these wireless sponges also contribute to enhanced workflow, because nurses don’t have to manually keep track of sponges all the time. The wireless medical sponge has been manufactured by Clearcoat Medical Solutions.
As anyone would expect, technology this sophisticated does not come cheap. It remains to be seen if hospitals are willing to make the financial investment that will be required to reduce the risk of surgical errors.