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Prevent Retained Foreign Objects during Robotic Surgery, Says ECRI Institute PSO

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., July 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Robotically-assisted surgery has surged in popularity over the last decade. Although retained foreign objects might be assumed to be less likely during a robotically assisted procedure, ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization (PSO) has received and analyzed reports indicating that this might not always be true.


"During robotic surgery, it may be necessary to convert to open surgery. These procedures require different instruments, which are not usually included in the pre-operative count," states Karen P. Zimmer, MD, MPH, FAAP, medical director, ECRI Institute PSO. "These instruments need to be noted and included in the final count in order to prevent unintentional retention of foreign objects," says Zimmer.

A recently released Patient Safety E-lert, "Retained Foreign Objects: It's Not the Robot's Fault," highlights this patient safety issue involving retained foreign objects associated with robotically assisted surgery. The issue was brought to ECRI Institute PSO's attention in its analysis of reports submitted by participating healthcare providers. As part of its mission to research the best approaches to improving patient care, ECRI Institute is sharing this special E-lert with the healthcare community.

"Reports submitted to Patient Safety Organizations can help raise awareness of less known or undetected risks, like those highlighted in this report," advises Barbara Rebold, RN, MS, CPHQ, director of operations, ECRI Institute PSO. "Our goal in collecting patient safety reports is to share the lessons we've learned with the entire healthcare community to help make greater strides in improving patient safety," says Rebold.

For questions about this topic, or for information about ECRI Institute PSO, contact ECRI Institute by telephone at (610) 825-6000, ext. 5558; by e-mail at; by fax at (610) 834-1275, or by mail at 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298, USA. To sign up for the PSO Monthly Brief, a free eNewsletter comprised of a brief article each month to help keep readers informed about Patient Safety Organizations, go to

About ECRI Institute
For nearly 45 years, ECRI Institute's work in patient safety, adverse event reporting and analysis, and development of recommendations has improved patient care at hospitals and other providers around the world. The ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization is a component of ECRI Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. ECRI Institute has a long history of investigating adverse events and publishing authoritative risk reduction strategies. ECRI Institute is designated as an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute developed and implements the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System, a mandatory error and near-miss reporting program for Pennsylvania hospitals and other healthcare facilities, under contract to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, winner of the 2006 John M. Eisenberg Award. For more information, visit Find ECRI Institute on Facebook ( and Twitter (

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