NoThing Left Behind®: A National Surgical Patient-Safety Project to Prevent Retained Surgical Items

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This system consists of 2D matrix labeled sponges which perform much like a "bar code". Each sponge has a unique identifier so each sponge can be distinguished from another. The sponges have the label glued on each sponge but also have a label on the band of the pack of sponges which can be used to "bulk count" the sponges on the IN count. Each used sponge must be individually passed under the scanner which can be hand held by the circulating nurse or table mounted at the end of the case. The scanner reads each sponge and displays on the screen the numbers of sponges used during the case. For more info visit:



This system consists of sponges which have a small radiofrequency tag sewn into a pocket on each sponge. The tag is about the size of a good and plenty candy. This is a passive RF tag but is detected when the handheld wand is passed within 13 inches of the tag. The patient must be "wanded" in a standardized fashion in three directions to ensure that the tag will be detected. The computer console emits an audible signal and there is a light which is present on the console which lights up when a tag has been detected. This device does not distinguish between sponge types or number of sponges. The signal readout will be the same intensity. The wand can be used repeatedly over a 24 hour period in multiple cases by placing a sterile sheath over the unit in each case. After 24 hours the wand is thrown away. The small tag can be inserted through laparoscopic trocars. If a sponge is missing any area in the OR can be "wanded" to find the missing sponge before the patient leaves the OR. For more info visit:


This system has a unique radio-frequency identification chip sewn into each type of sponge. This is a passive chip and is about the size of a dime. Each sponge has a specific identifier and thus sponges of different types pooled together can be distinguished. The detection and counting system resides in the bucket into which the used sponges are placed. Unopened packages of sponges are placed on the front panel to be counted in and then the packages are opened and placed on the sterile field. Used sponges can be thrown directly into the bucket which contains the scanners, or placed into a plastic-bag lined kick bucket and the plastic bag then thrown into the bucket for scanning. The readout takes place on the visible screen showing the number of sponges counted in, the number counted out and any difference. There is also a wand which can be used in the event of a missing sponge or can function independently as a counting and detection device. For more info visit: