Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts has joined a growing number of over 100 hospitals nationwide to add the RF Surgical Detection System to its surgical safety protocols. This patented and FDA-approved technology uses a scanning wand that detects and signals an alert if any radio frequency tagged surgical sponges remain in a patient following surgery.
Retained surgical objects are one of the leading patient safety concerns in U.S. hospitals and throughout the world. Published reports estimate they occur in one out of every 5,000 to 6,000 open cavity surgeries, making them the most frequent and costly of the "sentinel events"—medical errors that result in an unexpected death or a serious physical or psychological injury.
The implementation of the system is a direct outcome of the hospital's recent patient safety initiative. In a statement released on April 9, 2009, Saint Vincent Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Octavio Diaz, announced that the hospital was taking an aggressive approach in reviewing its policies and protocols, as well as investigating new technologies that mitigate medical risks—all with the goal of optimizing patient safety.