Woman's Hospital is taking an extra step to prevent retained surgical items (RSIs) and further enhance its standard of surgical care.
The hospital is the first in Baton Rouge to use Medtronic's Situate disposable cotton sponges, gauze and towels, which are embedded with a tiny radiofrequency tag that can be detected before surgery is complete with a wand using low-frequency, non-ionizing radio waves.
If a sponge still is left in the body, it will transmit a signal back to the device, alerting staff of the item's exact location. This technology essentially eliminates the risk of leaving surgical items in patients.
"Woman's is committed to maintaining and enhancing our exceptional patient safety rates," said Zinda LeBlanc, Director of Perioperative Services/Sterile Processing. "This technology is an additional layer of protection to ensure our patients have the best surgical outcomes."
Standard surgical procedure nationwide involves manually counting and recording all cotton disposables going into and coming out of a patient. Though it is rare for gauze, sponges or towels to be left in the body after surgery, mistakes can occur and result in severe medical complications such as infections, adhesions and obstructions.
Sponges that are used to soak up blood and other fluids are the most common objects that are left behind. Furthermore, additional surgery is required to retrieve an RSI.
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Several types of surgeries are performed at Woman's, including general, breast, gynecologic, urologic, cosmetic and weight loss surgery.
The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of healthcare organizations in the United States, recognizes Woman's for its surgical care. According to Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems data, Woman's exceeds all patient expectations in safety, timeliness and experience.