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Surgical items are mistakenly left inside a patient 4,500 to 6,000 times a year, according to the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), which is updating its guidelines for avoiding that error.
The updated Guideline for Prevention of Retained Surgical Items provides guidance to perioperative team members to ensure accurate accounting of all surgical items that could potentially be retained in the patient. Key points are establishing no-interruption zones and standardizing counts and reconciliation procedures. AORN points out that in addition to such countable surgical goods as sponges, sharps, and instruments, the team also should account for all detachable pieces and device fragments that may not be detectable on X-ray. (Ordering information for the guidelines is available online at http://tinyurl.com/zqzbk7h. Other resources are available at http://tinyurl.com/j6oj3yd.)
Financial Disclosure: Author Greg Freeman, Executive Editor Joy Daughtery Dickinson, and Nurse Planner Maureen Archambault report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study. Arnold Mackles, MD, MBA, LHRM, physician reviewer, discloses that he is an author and advisory board member for The Sullivan Group and that he is owner, stockholder, presenter, author, and consultant for Innovative Healthcare Compliance Group.