Welcome guidance on reducing risk of retained swabs after natural childbirth

  • Posted

Posted 03/06/2010

The Nursing Times reports that the National Patient Safety Agency has issued guidance aimed at reducing the risk of swabs being left in the vagina after childbirth. Ninety-nine incidents of swabs being retained were apparently reported in the two year period between April 2007 and March 2009. The problems which can be caused when swabs are not removed include pyrexia, infection, haemorrhage and psychological problems. The new guidance requires organisations to have written procedures for swab counts at all births and to audit swab count practices in their maternity services.

Sharon Allison, a clinical negligence lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “We have handled legal claims brought by patients in these circumstances and strongly welcome the new guidance. In our experience retained swabs cause both physical and emotional damage to the mother during a very crucial period of bonding with her newborn child.”


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