Healthcare Industry News:  Safety-Sponge 

Devices Surgery

 News Release - April 26, 2013

Ketchikan Medical Center Implements The SurgiCount Safety-Sponge(R) System

First hospital in the planned system-wide implementation across all PeaceHealth facilities

IRVINE, Calif., April 26, 2013 -- (Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network) -- SurgiCount Medical, Inc., the wholly-owned operating subsidiary of Patient Safety Technologies, Inc. (PSTX), today announced that Ketchikan Medical Center (KMC) in Ketchikan, Alaska will become the first hospital in the PeaceHealth system to implement the SurgiCount Safety-Sponge® System. The SurgiCount Safety-Sponge® System provides a clinically proven solution to help prevent one of the most common surgical errors, retained surgical sponges. Estimated to occur as often as one in every 8,000 surgical procedures, retained surgical sponges are the most commonly reported surgical Adverse Event.

"We want that number to be zero," said Patrick Branco, CEO of Ketchikan Medical Center. "By using this system, we intend to eliminate the chance of this happening to even one of our patients."

"This technology enhances our already proven counting system by adding a real-time quality measure," said OR Nurse Manager Kimm Schwartz. "KMC has a good patient safety record, so by taking this simple precaution we're making it even safer for our patients—providing them with even more peace of mind."

PeaceHealth plans to put the SurgiCount system in place in each of its hospitals over the coming months. Although a number of other hospitals in the northwest are now using the system, PeaceHealth will be the first in the region to implement the technology system-wide in all of its hospitals.

Commenting on the cost of the system, Branco says that the bar code system "pays for itself many times over if we prevent just one retained sponge mishap for one of our patients."

"We are thrilled to add Ketchikan Medical Center and the PeaceHealth hospital system to our growing list of users who are taking the initiative to improve the safety of their patients and help eliminate unnecessary costs by implementing a simple, safe and clinically-proven solution to prevent retained surgical sponges," stated Brian E. Stewart, President and CEO of Patient Safety Technologies, Inc. "We are proud to support them as they stay on the forefront of healthcare and technology."

About PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center (KMC) is a 25-bed not-for-profit, critical access hospital in Ketchikan, Alaska, which is also home to a 27-bed long-term care unit. Serving the southern Southeast Alaska region since 1923, KMC has demonstrated nearly a century of safe, compassionate care. The PeaceHealth heritage and spirit drives both its high quality services and programs as well as its vision that, "every person receives safe, compassionate care; every time, every touch." Ketchikan Medical Center is a Gold Seal of Approval™ Joint Commission-accredited and certified organization with a long-term care facility that has earned a 5-Star Rating from Medicare for 3 years in a row. Ketchikan Medical Center has been named one of America's Top 100 HealthStrong™ Critical Access Hospitals by iVantage for two years in a row (one of only two Alaskan hospitals to do so) and has been ranked as the #1 destination for visiting nurses two years in a row.

Ketchikan Medical Center contact: Mischa Chernick, Marketing and Communications Manager, (907) 228-8300 x7176

About Patient Safety Technologies, Inc. and SurgiCount Medical Patient Safety Technologies, Inc., through its wholly-owned operating subsidiary SurgiCount Medical, Inc., provides the Safety-Sponge® System, a solution clinically proven to improve patient safety and reduce healthcare costs by helping prevent one of the most common errors in surgery, retained surgical sponges. The solution is currently used in over 285 government, teaching and community hospitals across the U.S., including 7 of the 2012-2013 US News and World Report Best Hospitals Honor Roll recipients, representing more total users and more Honor Roll recipients than all competing retained sponge prevention solutions combined. For more information, contact SurgiCount Medical, Inc. at (949) 387-2277 or visit

Retained foreign bodies are estimated to represent up to 49.8 percent of all reported surgical never events[1] with surgical sponges representing the vast majority of items unintentionally retained[2]. Estimated occurrence rates of retained sponge incidents are as often as 1 in every 1,000 to 1,500 abdominal operations, to 1 in every 8,000 in patient operations2. With an estimated 32 million surgical procedures annually in the U.S., there are approximately 4,000 retained sponge incidents each year, 11 every day. The negative impact to patient outcomes from retained foreign objects varies and can be significant, with permanent injuries in an estimated 16 percent of incidents and patient mortality in 5 percent1. Cost ramifications can be considerable and include legal expenses and awards, non-reimbursable healthcare services, loss of time, loss of reputation for involved individuals and facilities and the negative impact on pay for performance metrics.

Source: SurgiCount Medical

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