Doctor, I've got a clamp... I mean, a cramp...
January 16, 2003 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Doctor, I've got a clamp... I mean, a cramp... Surgical teams accidentally leave clamps, sponges and other tools inside about 1,500 patients nationwide each year, according to the biggest study of the problem yet. (yummy Xray here).
posted by sparky (11 comments total)
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posted by Dark Messiah at 11:02 AM on January 16, 2003

Non-reg req'd version here.

Watch out fatties:

"IT ALSO happens more often to fat patients, simply because there is more room inside them to lose equipment, according to the study."
posted by jonson at 11:10 AM on January 16, 2003

How about a new standard operating procedure for the manuals - a count of surgical instruments BEFORE and AFTER surgery.
posted by orange swan at 11:20 AM on January 16, 2003

orange swan, I quote the article: "Two-thirds of the mistakes happened even though the equipment was counted before and after the procedure, in keeping with the standard practice."
posted by archimago at 11:22 AM on January 16, 2003

Interesting, but not surprising. Was it just me, or did anyone else think the msnbc article was poorly written? I'd have read the other one, but the registration page was 2 pages long.
posted by agregoli at 11:26 AM on January 16, 2003

i remember seeing someone that had a scissor left in them on oprah or donahue about 100 million years ago.

agregoli: That article seemed full of akward sentences, but i've always felt that taking journalism classes in college made me over-critical... so i've learned to ignore myself.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 12:03 PM on January 16, 2003

I've always heard that the human body was an excellent place to store surgical equipment.
posted by tolkhan at 12:53 PM on January 16, 2003

I'm going to go out on a limb and call shenanigans on the X-ray. It doesn't look real at all. Frankly for the clamp to be there would require that it be clamped to something else gravity would cause it to turn toward the pelvis (meaning down). Why important? Because the clampy part is in an area where pretty much only important things would be. Further, some level of enhancement was done (most likely including photoshopping in the clamp) since the edges of the clamp are clearly demarkated by a black line.
posted by shagoth at 1:02 PM on January 16, 2003

It's this kind of behavior that leads to doctors having such high insurance rates. Which is why the price of medicine is rising so high. Which is why medical insurance rates are so high. Which is why unemployed people such as myself can't afford it. So God help me if I break an arm before I get another job, because these damned doctors keep forgetting clamps inside of fat people!

On a slight tangent, it would appear that insurance companies are the only ones coming out of this on top. Not so. The insurance company that I just got laid off from (my fourth IT layoff last year, woo hoo!) was a giant, faceless, gray, joyless place to work. Folks who'd been there more than five years or so all seemed to have this beaten-down, lifeless look about them. So IMHO there are no winners in this whole godawful mess. Tear the whole system down and start again!

Oh, and maybe run a metal detector over the patient just before closing up, you know?
posted by Jonasio at 1:13 PM on January 16, 2003

Some sort of failsafe system utilizing barcode or RF markers built into each instrument might help.
posted by rushmc at 1:28 PM on January 16, 2003

Don't use the MSNBC copy, it hands out spyware (I can show you the download request that Mozilla popped up if you'd like). Anyone got a news source where you don't have to sell your soul?
posted by krisjohn at 9:19 PM on January 16, 2003

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