Title:
Surgical sponge counting device and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a device for displaying and assisting a user in counting used surgical sponges and the like. The device includes integral sets of holders arranged around an exterior edge of the device. Each set of holders is arranged away from the other sets of holders such that a user can practice a method of easily and accurately accounting for used surgical sponges.



Inventors:
Paxton, Denise (Virginia Beach, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/499196
Publication Date:
02/07/2008
Filing Date:
08/04/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D83/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KRYCINSKI, STANTON L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bradley D. Goldizen (HC 80 BOX 261, Maysville, WV, 26833, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A counting device for keeping track of used surgical sponges during operations, said counting device having an interior edge and an exterior edge and comprising: a plurality of projections extending from the exterior edge of the counting device, said plurality of projections arranged in sets of five projections and having a first distance being defined between each projection within a set of projections and a second distance between each set of projections and adjoining sets of projections, wherein said second distance is greater than said first distance; and, a support structure for bearing a weight of used sponges, said support structure comprising at least a first reinforcing rod extending within the interior edge of the counting device and at least a second reinforcing rod extending within the interior edge of the counting device, said second reinforcing rod perpendicularly intersecting said first reinforcing rod.

2. The counting device of claim 1 wherein said exterior edge is circularly shaped.

3. The counting device of claim 1 wherein said exterior edge is formed in the shape of a parallelogram.

4. The counting device of claim 1 further comprising: first and second sides that are arrange on opposite sides of the exterior edge of the device, said first and second sides being parallel to one another; third and fourth sides that are arranged on opposite sides of the exterior edge of the device, said third and fourth sides being parallel to one another and perpendicular to the first and second sides; a first plurality of five rods that extends from the first side to the second side, each of said five rods being arranged a uniform distance from one another and being parallel to one another; a second plurality of five rods that extends from the first side to the second side, each of said five rods being arranged a uniform distance from one another and being parallel to one another, said second plurality of five rods being parallel to the first plurality of five rods; a third plurality of five rods that extends from the third side to the fourth side, each of said five rods being arranged a uniform distance from one another and being parallel to one another; a fourth plurality of five rods that extends from the third side to the fourth side, each of said five rods being arranged a uniform distance from one another and being parallel to one another, said fourth plurality of five rods being parallel to the third plurality of five rods; and, wherein the third and fourth plurality of five rods are perpendicular to the first and second plurality of five rods.

5. The counting device of claim 4 wherein adjoining rods in a plurality of five rods are separated by a one-inch gap.

6. The counting device of claim 4 wherein the first, second, third and fourth plurality of five rods are arranged to form a square opening in a center of the counting device that is two inches by two inches.

7. The counting device of claim 4 wherein the first plurality of five rods are separated from the second plurality of five rods by two inches.

8. The counting device of claim 1 further comprising four reinforcing bars arranged on the exterior edge of the counting device.

9. The counting device of claim 8 further comprising four connecting bars, each connecting bar having a first end and a second end, said first end connecting to a first reinforcing bar and said second end connecting to a second reinforcing bar, such that the connecting bars are arranged between the reinforcing bars.

10. A counting device for keeping track of used surgical sponges during operations, said counting device having an interior edge and an exterior edge and four sides, said counting device comprising: a first plurality of five rods that extends from a first side to a second side of the device, each of said five rods being arranged a uniform distance from one another and being parallel to one another; a second plurality of five rods that extends from the first side to the second side of the device, each of said five rods being arranged a uniform distance from one another and being parallel to one another, said second plurality of five rods being parallel to the first plurality of five rods; a third plurality of five rods that extends from a third side to a fourth side of the device, each of said five rods being arranged a uniform distance from one another and being parallel to one another; a fourth plurality of five rods that extends from the third side to the fourth side, each of said five rods being arranged a uniform distance from one another and being parallel to one another, said fourth plurality of five rods being parallel to the third plurality of five rods; a plurality of projections extending from the exterior edge of the counting device, said plurality of projections arranged in sets of five projections and having a first distance being defined between each projection within a set of projections and a second distance between each set of projections and adjoining sets of projections, wherein said second distance is greater than said first distance; and, wherein the third and fourth plurality of five rods are perpendicular to the first and second plurality of five rods.

11. The counting device of claim 10 wherein adjoining rods in a plurality of five rods are separated by a one-inch space.

12. The counting device of claim 10 wherein the first, second, third and fourth plurality of five rods are arranged to form a square opening in a center of the counting device that is two inches by two inches in size.

13. The counting device of claim 10 wherein the first plurality of five rods are separated from the second plurality of five rods by two inches.

14. The counting device of claim 10 further comprising four reinforcing bars arranged on the exterior edge of the counting device.

15. The counting device of claim 14 further comprising four connecting bars, each connecting bar having a first end and a second end, said first end connecting to a first reinforcing bar and said second end connecting to a second reinforcing bar, such that the connecting bars are arranged between the reinforcing bars.

16. A counting device for keeping track of used surgical sponges during operations, said counting device having an interior edge and an exterior edge, said counting device comprising: a circular base member that encloses a circular opening; a plurality of sets of projections extending outwardly from the circular opening, said projections being substantially one-inch in length and provided in sets of five; a first reinforcing rod that intersects the circular opening and divides it into two regions; and, a second reinforcing rod that is perpendicular to the first reinforcing rod.

17. The counting device of claim 16 wherein a diameter of the circular opening is substantially fifteen inches.

18. The counting device of claim 16 wherein the second reinforcing rod divides the circular opening into four equal quadrants.

19. A system for counting and keeping track of used surgical sponges during operations, said system comprising: a counting device having an interior edge and an exterior edge, said counting device comprising a plurality of projections extending from the exterior edge of the counting device, said plurality of projections arranged in sets of five projections and having a first distance being defined between each projection within a set of projections and a second distance between each set of projections and adjoining sets of projections, wherein said second distance is greater than said first distance and a support structure for bearing weight of used sponges, said support structure comprising at least a first reinforcing rod extending within the interior edge of the counting device and at least a second reinforcing rod extending within the interior edge of the counting device, said second reinforcing rod perpendicularly intersecting said first reinforcing rod; a ring stand; and, an impervious covering draped across the ring stand for preventing body fluids from dripping onto the ring stand and a floor upon which the ring stand rests.

20. The system of claim 19 wherein the impervious covering further comprises a raised edge arranged along the bottom of the ring stand.

Description:
There are no related patent applications.

This patent application did not receive federal research and development funding.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention is generally directed to a method and device for displaying and counting used surgical sponges. More specifically the present invention relates to a device which easily allows for visual recognition of a sum of sponges used during a medical procedure. The device helps keep track of the used sponges to prevent medical accidents caused by unaccounted sponges.

Medical accidents may occur during surgery when surgical sponges are inadvertently left in a patient. The patient may develop a life-threatening injury or infection when this type of accident occurs. It is therefore important to carefully count used surgical sponges.

Previously, others have counted used surgical sponges in a manner whereby used surgical sponges are passed from a surgeon to a scrub nurse who drops the used sponges in a kick bucket. A circulating nurse retrieves the used sponges from the kick bucket and either arranges them for final count or places them in a bag in sets of five sponges.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,613,899 to Schleicher discloses an apparatus for facilitating the counting and disposal of surgical sponges. In Schleicher, a plurality of disposable sponge-supporting trays includes a plurality of slits which facilitate the locating and holding of used sponges.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,478,332 to Wiestmiller discloses a sponge arraying and disposal receptacle that includes a transparent bag and a pair of slightly inclined chutes from which a plurality of prongs extend. Projections extend downwardly from the chutes and are rigidly attached to inside portions of the bag so that it may be suspended between the chutes for visual observation of its contents.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,966,595 to Meringola teaches a surgical sponge assembly comprising a plurality of multi-layer sponges. Each sponge includes a twill strip. A holder or rack includes a plurality of slots into which a respective twill strip is insertable.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,692,615 to Fischer discloses a surgical sponge monitor system including a monitor board with a tally board that includes a plurality of sites. Each side includes slits and is adapted to deform in response to application of a modest force such that a deposited sponge partially protrudes from the slits.

The aforementioned U.S. patents are illustrative of prior art devices. However, none of these patents disclose a device and counting method for use with a ring stand whereby a set of five surgically used sponges are grouped together in a set that is readily displayed on an exterior edge of a sponge counting apparatus that comprises a plurality of sets projections. Moreover, none of the prior art provides a sponge displaying device where used sponges are arranged in a vertical position and can be viewed in their entirety such that the sponge body and the x-ray loop are displayed. In this manner, used sponges may be easily viewed and counted from across an operating room.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

If several hours of surgery have occurred, surgical stresses sometime lead to miscounting of the sponges using prior art counting techniques. The present invention aims to overcome this problem by visually grouping and prominently displaying a group of sets of used sponges in their entirety. The sets of sponges are staged and hung around a centralized area. The centralized area can be easily viewed and counted from across the room. In this manner, the sets of five used surgical sponges are grouped together such that large numbers of used surgical sponges may be easily counted. The user easily views the state of each projection or finger and determines whether a used surgical sponge is associated with that particular projection or finger. A total count of used surgical sponges may be easily determined by viewing and counting the number used sponges. Since the sponges are typically provided in sterile packaging in sets of five, the device allows for ease in counting used sponges. A user may view the full sets of projections multiply them by five, and then add the remaining number of projections of any partially full set of projections to easily arrive an at an accurate accounting.

In a first embodiment, the present invention includes a square center with four sides and is provided with two sets of five fingers or holders extending from each side. In this embodiment, the invention may be practiced by overlaying or intertwining two sets of five rods with another two sets of five rods at right angles. Thus, medical personnel can visually count the number of used sponges at a glance by viewing the sets of holders that have a sponge associated therewith.

In a second embodiment, the invention may be provided in a circular embodiment having an inner ring onto which a plurality of sets of five holders are fastened for securing used surgical sponges thereon.

In a further embodiment, ends of the overlapping rods of the first embodiment include upturned ends for accepting a used surgical sponge.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a method and device for easily accounting for all surgical sponges during a surgical operation. The device groups a plurality of used surgical sponges together in sets of five. A user can thereby easily look at the number of sets of sponges and quickly ascertain a number of used surgical sponges. This counting method may be facilitated by placing the device against a backdrop having a different color, such as a colored trash bag. The different colored backdrop aids in making the used sponges easier to view.

It is an object of the invention to provide a counting device for securing a plurality of used surgical sponges where the counting device includes sets of holders integrally formed apart from one another and extending from an exterior edge of the device.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a surgical sponge displaying and counting device that provides high visibility of used surgical sponges such that a total number of used surgical sponges may be easily viewed and counted from across a room against a colored backdrop.

It is further an object of the invention to provide a surgical sponge displaying and counting device that may is cost-effective and easy to produce. The device provides accessibility and viewing capability from all angles. Moreover, the device may be used with existing surgical assisting devices such as ring stands.

The above and further objects, details and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a first embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a second embodiment of the invention formed in a circular shape.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the invention showing the first embodiment with upturned edges.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the invention showing the embodiment of FIG. 3 arranged atop a disposable sheet.

FIG. 5 is an elevation view of a clamp for securing the present invention to a ring stand.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a prior art ring stand.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a plan view of a first embodiment of the invention shown in a square shape. In this embodiment, the sponge monitoring device 1 comprises twenty rods 5 arranged to provide a plurality of projections 3. The twenty rods 5 comprise a support structure for bearing the weight of used sponges. The rods 5 are arranged in sets 10 and comprise a rigid material. Preferably, the rods 5 are seventeen inches long to facilitate use of the device with a ring stand that is currently used in surgical procedures. Each set 10 includes five rods 5 that are arranged parallel to one another, as shown. Adjoining rods 5 of a set 10 are preferably separated by a one-inch gap, represented as 20 in the Figures. In the preferably embodiment, each set of five rods 5 are separated by two inches from the other set of parallel rods, represented by 15 in FIG. 1. As shown, the device of the first embodiment comprises forty projections 3 arranged about exterior edges of the device 1. The projections are arranged in eight sets such that ten projections are provided on each of the four sides of the device as shown. A central area 25 includes an opening that is preferably two inches by two inches squared. Each side of the device includes a reinforcing bar 18 that attaches to each rod 5 for providing stability to the device 1. Each end of the reinforcing bar 18 attaches to a connecting bar 17 that attaches to another reinforcing bar 18 as shown. The connecting bar 17 also provides stability and adds to the rigidity of the device 1.

The device may be provided in a re-usable manner. In this manner, the rods comprise stainless steel, metal or other material that may be placed in an autoclave for disinfecting. Otherwise, the device may be provided in a disposable form that is discarded after use. In the disposable form, the rods may comprise plastic or other rigid material.

FIG. 2 is a second embodiment of the invention 1. In this embodiment, the device 1 includes a circular base member 4 that encloses a circular opening 30. Preferably, the diameter of circular opening 30 is substantially fifteen inches. A plurality of sets of projections 7 extend outwardly from the circular opening 30 and are substantially one inch in length. A first reinforcing rod 21 intersects circular opening and divides it into two regions. A second reinforcing rod 22 is perpendicular to reinforcing rod 21 and connected at a center thereto. Preferably, the second reinforcing rod 22 further divides the circular opening 30 into four equal quadrants. The reinforcing rods 21, 22 attach at opposite ends to circular base member 4 and comprise a support structure for bearing the weight of the used sponges. As mentioned previously, the device of the second embodiment may be provided in a variety of rigid materials, both reusable and disposable. The projections 7 are provided in sets of five and extend from the ends of the device and are represented by 6. The projections are connected together to provide the circular base member 4, as shown.

FIG. 3 is a further embodiment of the invention where the first embodiment is modified to include projections that comprise an up-turned end 16. This embodiment aids the user in attaching an end of a used sponge to the device via a projection. FIG. 4 shows the device of FIG. 3 in use. The device 1 is arranged atop an impervious covering 105 which sits over a ring stand 50, shown in FIG. 6. The impervious covering 105 may comprise a plastic garbage bag. The impervious covering 105 is draped across the ring stand 50 and arranged such that a raised edge or dam 55 is created along the bottom of the ring stand 50. The dam 55 serves to prevent blood, water and other body fluids that have been absorbed by the used sponges 100 from flowing onto the floor of the operating room. In this manner, the dam 55 may be pulled upward and the body fluids may be trapped inside the impervious covering 105. A plurality of used surgical sponges 100 are displayed from projections 16. In this manner, a user easily recognizes the number of used surgical sponges in separated sets of five. A clamp 120 may be provided on each of the four sides of the device 1 for securing both the impervious covering 110 and the device 1 to the ring stand 120. The clamp 120 fits across an edge of the device and the top of the ring stand 50. In this manner, the impervious covering 105 is sandwiched between the device 1 and the ring stand 50. As shown in FIG. 5, the clamp 120 includes an arcuate region arranged between two extended regions that form opposite ends of the clamp. The clamp 120 may comprise plastic, metal or other such material.

In use, a user first realizes the size of the sponge holder and the number of sets of 5 projections on each side of the device. During an operation, an end of a surgical sponge is attached to or associated with a particular projection. A counting process is undertaken whereby the user views each projection within a set of projections to determine whether the entire set of projections have a sponge associated therewith. In this manner, the user can easily calculate the total number of used surgical sponges. If all the projections are associated with a surgical sponge then the tally of all used sponges is increased by the total number of projections. In a device of FIG. 1, the total number of used sponges would be increased by 40.

In use, a looped end of a sponge is opened to receive an end of one of the projections. A first set of projections are each associated with a used sponge. The user then continues filling the sets of holders in a systematic manner until all projections are filled or the surgery is complete. Then a count is taken of the number of filled sets of projections is undertaken by viewing the entire amount of used sponges. Bagging sponges are responsible for most of the incorrect counts because once the bag is closed, the mistake is carried on the entire case. Hanging sponges by fives avoid most counting mistakes that occur by constantly viewing and continuously counting of the sponges in their entirety to lessen the possibility of a sponge being left in a patient.

While the invention has been described with respect to preferred embodiments, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in limiting sense. From the above disclosure of the general principles of the present invention and the preceding detailed description, those skilled in the art will readily comprehend the various modifications to which the present invention is susceptible. Therefore, the scope of the invention should be limited only by the following claims and equivalents thereof.