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​Communication failures are common in the operating room and can lead to increased complications such as retained foreign bodies. Use of a surgical safety checklist may prevent communication failures and reduce complications. While the physical act of "checking the box" may not necessarily prevent all adverse events, the checklist is a scaffold on which attitudes towards teamwork and communication can be encouraged and improved. Compliance with the checklist includes communication with the patient and is critical for the effects on patient safety to be realized (Pugel et al., 2015).

Patient Stories

Retained Foreign Body in the News

'It felt like I had been stabbed,' says patient left with 33-cm metal plate inside after surgery

Sylvie Dubé couldn't figure out why she was overcome with pain in her shoulder after she woke up following an operation…"It felt like I had been stabbed," Dubé told Radio-Canada, recalling the surgery on March 14….As weeks went on, the pain worsened….Feeling discouraged, the couple showed up at the emergency room more than two months after the surgery..

That's when Dubé underwent an X-ray. Puzzled radiologists told her there was a large medical instrument lodged inside her stomach (Gentile, 2017).

Canada worse than other wealthy countries in patient safety – including objects left in body after surgery, data show

Canada is lagging other wealthy countries when it comes to patient safety, according to new data that show our country's hospitals record significantly higher rates of obstetrical trauma, as well as foreign objects, such as sponges and instruments, left in patients after surgery…. (Leung, 2019).