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News and Featured Stories from St. Vincent's Medical Center
Published: 05/05/2008

St. Vincent's First in State to Adopt Sponge-Counting.

spongecounting1BRIDGEPORT, CT on May 5, 2008— St. Vincent’s Medical Center recently implemented the use of the RF Surgical Detection System in all operating rooms—the first hospital in Connecticut to do so in an effort to enhance patient safety during surgery. The patented and FDA-approved system, developed by RF Surgical Systems, Inc., scans and signals an alert if any Radio Frequency Detect- tagged surgical sponge remains in a patient following surgery but prior to surgical close. According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, retained surgical sponges is one of the leading patient safety concerns in hospitals—occurring at an estimated rate of 1 in every 1,000 to 1,500 intra-abdominal surgeries.

“We place the highest priority on the safety of our patients and this system will enable us to enhance our already established protocols,” said Vincent Donnelly, MD, acting chairman of surgery at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. “While sponge counts are the traditional method for ensuring that no foreign bodies are left in the patient, it is not full proof. Human error can lead to miscounts. With this technology, we have dramatically enhanced safety in the operating rooms.”

There are three components that make up the RF Surgical Detection System. A disposable hand-held wand isspongecounting2 connected to a compact, self-calibrating reusable console. The micro RF Tag, sized 4 mm by 12 mm, is embedded in each and every surgical sponge. By scanning the wand over the patient in the operating room, the system allows for a quick validation that no tagged sponges have been left in the patient prior to surgical closure. In cases where the count is correct but the wand sets-off the console’s alarm, the wand can also be used as a guide to locate the missing sponge.

St. Vincent’s Medical Center conducted a positive trial of the RF Surgical Detection System in the summer and has now expanded its use to every surgical case in the Operating Room.

St. Vincent’s Medical Center

St. Vincent’s Medical Center is a 397-bed community teaching and referral hospital providing a full range of inpatient and outpatient services with regional centers of excellence in cardiology, surgery, cancer care, orthopedics, diagnostics, women’s and family services, behavioral health, senior health and an array of specialized services. St. Vincent’s has set new standards in care with the opening of its state-of-the-art 30-bed Intensive Care and Critical Care Unit and 27,000 square foot Operating Suite including 10 operating rooms and a 12-bed post-anesthesia unit (PACU). In addition to incorporating the latest technology and design standards, the advances in care are backed by a patient and family-centered approach to care.

St. Vincent’s has just broken ground for an expanded Emergency Department and for the creation of the new Elizabeth M. Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care. The new 125,000-square foot, four-story wing, will create vital space needed in the emergency department, and will consolidate cancer services in one location, reducing the time between diagnosis and treatment. The new facility will provide the latest in cancer treatments in a healing, compassionate environment.

To obtain more information on the RF Surgical Detection System, please visit the website at www.rfsurg.com or www.stvincents.org.

A nurse demonstrates the RF Detect Sponge Counting Technology used to ensure patient safety at St. Vincent's.

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