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OR nurse group urges reporting of surgical errors
Recent news reports of patients who lived for months with surgical items mistakenly left in them has spurred the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) to urge that such incidents be reported to the national system it has set up to record such errors.
"The articles reported that surgical teams accidentally leave clamps, sponges, and other instruments inside about 1,500 patients nationwide each year," according to a statement issued by the group. "While the number of these errors is very small compared to the number of surgical procedures performed, it is, nevertheless, a critical safety issue."
Research suggests that some of the errors involving retained objects occurred because the appropriate guidelines were not followed, AORN says. AORN urges its members to put these patient safety guidelines into practice and to make sure that surgical facilities are following AORN guidelines. To track such errors and aid in the development of future guidelines, AORN recently developed Safety Net, a voluntary reporting system to capture data about close calls and near misses in the surgical arena. The data collected from nurses and other health care providers will be analyzed to serve as a basis for the development of new guidelines and educational programs to improve patient safety.
Information about surgical close calls initially will be collected only via the Internet at www.patientsafetyfirst.org/safetynet.htm. For more information about this resource, contact the AORN Patient Safety First Hotline at (866) 285-5209.