Though surgical tools like sponges are useful and help the surgeon perform operations, they are not supposed to be left in the patient’s body. When surgeons sew up patients with a sponge still inside, the patient can sustain internal injuries. They will likely need more surgery to remove the sponge, and they might die from this form of medical malpractice.
Surgical sponges are not like kitchen sponges. They are squares of gauze that absorb blood. Medical professionals have struggled for years to find a reliable way to keep track of all the sponges used during an operation, so that the surgeon removes them all before finishing up. But techniques like having a nurse keep count, X-raying the patient or using bar codes have not eliminated the problem.