Feeds

RFID chips could aid surgical litter-bugs

Medics demand small spongeworthy wand

Intelligent flash storage arrays

RFID tags could be used to make sure surgeons don't leave anything behind in patients they have been operating on, something which happens roughly once in every 10,000 operations.

A common thing to be left behind is a sponge, so the usual practice is to count the number of sponges before and after surgery - hoping that the number is the same both times.

This is obviously vulnerable to human error, and research has shown that when sponges have been left behind, the count has been shown to be falsely correct in more than three quarters of non-vaginal surgeries.

RFID tags have been proposed as a solution to this problem, Reuters reports. Sponges and other instruments could be tagged, and then an RFID detector swept over the patient after surgery to make sure nothing had been missed.

A small study of eight patients, reported in the Archives of Surgery, tested the technique. During abdominal or pelvic surgery, sponges were placed inside the patient. Some were tagged, others were not. A surgeon who had no knowledge of the tagged status of the sponges then ran an RFID wand over the patient, checking for the sponges.

Every tagged sponge was detected, and no untagged sponges were falsely reported, the researchers report. On average, it took just three seconds for the wand to locate a sponge.

"When we started, I was concerned about the technological part of the problem," Dr. Alex Macario, the lead author of the study told the news agency. "But our study found the device works 100 percent of the time.

"The real challenge is how you incorporate a new device into the workflow of the operating room. We need a system that is really fail-safe—where, regardless, of how people use a counting system technology, the patient doesn't leave the operating room with a retained foreign body."

The paper also notes that doctors and nurses had asked for a small wand. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.