Aldrick Kneppe died after a second surgery had to be performed in order to remove a surgical sponge that had been inadvertently left behind in a previous surgery. In spite of safety measures desgined to avoid leaving sponges in surgical patients, 1,500 sponge cases occur each year, according to a 2003 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
The health consequences of such medical errors can be dire and in some cases, are not known until years later when unexplained symptoms begin to surface.
Once a surgical sponge is left in a patient and goes undetected, it becomes increasingly difficult to detect the foreign object. That’s why surgical safety checklists include sponge counts, tracking bar codes, and radiographic screening are vital to avoid these surgical errors.
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