this is more hype when you consider that doctors do over 1,000,000 operations a year and the 1,500 number is in less than 1% of all operations - the webmaster

from: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/health/1911559/detail.html

Report: Surgeons Leave Tools In 1,500 Patients A Year
Researchers Say Number Is Small Compared To Total Operations

POSTED: 5:11 p.m. EST January 15, 2003

BOSTON -- A new study found that surgeons' minds aren't always focused on the operating table.

The big new study found that, during surgery, U.S. surgeons accidentally leave tools inside about 1,500 patients a year.

The forgotten items are surgical tools -- clamps, sponges and similar equipment.

The researchers, from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health, based their national estimate on insurance records from about 800,000 operations in Massachusetts over 16 years.

They said the number of forgotten pieces of equipment is small compared with about 28 million operations performed each year in America, but they said the goal is, of course, to leave nothing behind.

The researchers said mistakes are more likely in stressful emergencies or when complications are found during the operation. They also found that overweight patients face a higher risk because their bodies are bigger -- and there's more room in which things can get lost. Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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