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November 10, 1923


JAMA. 1923;81(19):1571-1574. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650190001001

The subject I have chosen is one of much importance in abdominal work. While we, as pelvic and abdominal surgeons, are busy devising better operative procedures for the lesions of the various organs, we must not lose sight of the fact that a dangerous feature still persists in the general technic of abdominal section. I refer to the numerous sponges, large and small, used in and about the cavity. Infection and hemorrhage have been largely eliminated, but the dangerous detached sponges are still seen in every operating room.

A sponge left in the peritoneal cavity following an operation constitutes one of the most deplorable accidents of abdominal surgery. This is not a new subject. Much has been written concerning it, and many cases have been reported and many suggestions have been made as to preventive measures. In my original paper1 on the subject in 1909, a summary of reported