RFID chips against forgotten swabs in the patient
Built-in RFID chips are designed to prevent surgeons from accidentally leaving swabs or other equipment in their patient's body during an operation. A corresponding sensor successfully reported materials left behind within a maximum of three seconds. Doctors who tested it say the device just needs to be a little smaller.
Even science has a summer slump. More and more results then flood the media, which otherwise hardly find their way into reporting. With the series "Summer slump today" we would like to present a selection to you. With one in 10,000 operations, patients not only retain scars, but also internal traces of the operation - in two thirds of the cases in the form of non-removed swabs. Alex Macario from Stanford University and his colleagues therefore built radio identification chips (RFID), like those used to protect clothing against theft, into the liquid stoppers. Eight medical professionals used the prototypes during operations as a test: while one surgeon looked away, the other put a swab into the wound, then held the cut edges together and had his colleague scan the operation site with the specially developed sensor. In all cases, the device correctly reported the presence of a marked swab. One of the points of criticism, however, was the size of the device: At thirty centimeters and an additional device the size of a toaster, the measuring stick was simply too unwieldy for the users.
Your device in no way releases the surgical team from continuing to pay close attention to ensuring that no objects remain in the patient's body, the authors emphasize. It is only intended as a supplement to the meticulous counting that has to be done before an operation, before the incision is closed and at the end of the operation. In addition, the RFIDs are also too large for some objects.