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Better safe than sorry: Surgeons get help counting sponges

NPR, October 8, 2010

Surgery is tough enough even when everything goes perfectly. But if the surgeon leaves something inside you, well, that's just plain bad.

Those leftovers can lead to infections, pain and other complications. Then there's the possibility of another operation to retrieve the stuff. Now, more operating rooms are being equipped with new gadgets to avoid misplaced equipment.

Some research indicates about 1 in around 1,000 patients undergoing abdominal surgeries wind up with an unintended souvenir. A push to improve quality has put mistakes like those on a list of "never events," errors that just shouldn't happen — ever.

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