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Count the sponges: Preventing unintended retained surgical items

A recent study published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety has found some good news—the number of reported unintended retained surgical items (URSI) has continued to decline since 2019. While this is a positive trend, it’s not the same as saying the risk is gone. The same study also found that in 2022, 35% of reported URSIs resulted in the patient requiring additional care or extended hospital stays, and 40% resulted in severe patient harm. While more work is needed to keep reducing the number of URSIs, the ways to do so aren’t a mystery.

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