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Toronto, Nov 7 (Canadian-Media): Canada saw a major jump, of 14 percent over the last five years, in the number of medical items left inside patients after procedures, according to a study released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), media reports said.
Objects left inside patients bodies during surgical procedures. Image credit: Internet wallpaper
CIHI, a not-for-profit group that collects data on the quality of health care in the country, said 553 such objects were left inside patients over the last two years.
A separate study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed that among developed countries, Canada has the highest rate of medical items being left inside patients.
Canadian medical teams should follow existing safety procedures, Sandi Kossey, senior director of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), a not-for-profit healthcare watchdog said
"There are checks and balances that should happen," said Kossey. "There are enough
preventative measures that should be in place, that these things should not happen."
Even the health authorities refuse to take any responsibility of the surgeon's fault, since the surgeon is an independent contractor and not an employee.
"Physicians in B.C. are independent contractors who are licensed and regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.," the authority said in an email to Go Public which is an investigative news segment on CBC-TV, radio and the web.
According to the most recent report on the quality of healthcare in OECD countries, a foreign body — sponges, needles, clamps, scissors, etc. — is left inside a patient in Canada 9.8 times out of every 100,000 surgeries. That's three times the average.
The next-highest OECD results were Sweden at 8.3 followed by Netherlands with 4.6 per 100,000.
"The data shows that we're not doing as good as we should be as a developed country," Kossey told Go Public.
But she also suggests the reason Canada appears to have more mistakes could be in the accuracy of the reporting itself.
"In order to address that, we need to first acknowledge that it's happening. The health authorities need to take responsibility for the actions of their subcontractors and they also have to come up with a mitigation plan to avoid these types of events," she said.