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Discussion Starter #1
I just completed transcribing a gynecologic procedure note and at the end of it one of the last things this doctor always says is "All sponge, needle and instrument counts were correct times two!" 8O

I know why they do this and make a point to dictate it (to protect their butts in the case of litigation) but I still shudder when I hear it. With all the times I've been under the knife I can't imagine having a surgical instrument left in me.

I don't remember which show it was on but I believe it was 20/20 or something like that; years ago they did a story on surgical instruments being forgotten inside the patient, with the patient being closed up, and they were later discovered on x-rays and so forth. Depending on where these instruments are left a person could be walking time bomb!
 

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It's a far far smaller risk than it used to be. They do literally count everything in and out twice, and only the REALLY unfortunate get things left in there.

As for the first line of the OP's post... the mind boggles.....
 

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It was also interesting when my mom had surgery on her wrists some years back. Both times when she went in for the surgery they wrote "YES" on the wrist that was getting operated on with magic marker and "NO" on the other wrist, and asked her to verify that this was in fact correct.

But hey, better safe than sorry. If a markered "YES" lowers the risk of operating on the wrong body part, I'm all for it.

Similarly, the only way to make sure everything is out of there is to count. :)
 

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The yes and no thing is a really good idea. We had a dog come into our clinic who had gone to the vet who runs a mobile vaccine clinic but also offers low cost major surgeries that are usually referred out to the specialists for some sort of leg surgery. I think it was for his loose kneecaps. One leg was far worse than the other so it was decided to do that one first or else the bad leg wouldn't be able to support the dog. She asked to double check that it was the left leg being done that day and without even putting her on hold the girl yells out "hey, you guys are doing the wrong leg!" So they stopped, closed up and did the other leg. He came into our clinic because of complications with one of the surgical sites and there wasn't a SINGLE WORD about what they had done to the other leg on the record. How scary is that??
 

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I had foot surgery a few years ago. I took a permanent marker and wrote a huge smiley face with the word YES on the correct foot, and a sad face with the word NO on the other one. Didn't want to use a water based marker because it might get washed off!! LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
TrinityQuiet said:
Wow...this is the first I've heard of any of these tactics. Definitely makes sense to mark your body and say where to work, but it IS scary that it's necessary! 8O
See, that was my whole point of the thread; just the simple fact that mistakes have happened in the past so they've come up with ways to hopefully prevent it from happening again.

Every time I type something about counting the instruments as they get taken out of the body or marking the proper extremity it makes me shudder to think that there are people who've had things left in them or the wrong part of the body worked on. 8O
 

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Heidi n Q said:
...makes me wish I'd written a funny note to my surgeon on my abdomen. :D
Good thing you didn't or he would have spit his coffee out onto the sterile field.

I'm more worried about medication errors. When in the hospital I check all my meds before I take them. I am probably a pain in the neck to have as a patient.
 
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