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Patient Safety in Surgery

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Aims and Scope

Patient Safety in Surgery is an open access journal that publishes articles on all issues related to safety and quality of patient care in surgery and surgical subspecialties.

The journal provides a scientific platform for specialists from all surgical fields and for other healthcare professionals to report, discuss, debate, and critically review all aspects related to errors, complications, and other safety issues in the management of patients undergoing surgical procedures.


  1. Content type: Editorial


    Authors: Philip F. Stahel, Wade R. Smith, Ernest E. Moore, Philip S. Mehler, Sebastian Weckbach, Fernando J. Kim, Nathan Butler, Hans-Christoph Pape, Ted J. Clarke, Martin A. Makary and Pierre-Alain Clavien

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Featured article: Incidence, root cause, and outcomes of unintentionally retained intraabdominal surgical sponges: a retrospective case series from two hospitals in Togo

Unintentionally retained foreign bodies, such as intraabdominal lap sponges and instruments, continue to be reported in concerningly high rates in spite of being termed “never events” which should never occur. This featured article describes a retrospective observational study on more than 45,000 abdominal and pelvic surgical procedures during a 10-year time-window in two public hospitals in Togo. The authors report 15 cases of retained lap sponges (gossypibomas) which were identified and removed within one week to 4 years of the occurrence. Postoperative complications included enterocutaneous fistula, incisional hernia, surgical site infections, and death. This article emphasizes the imperative for a strict adherence to the WHO “Safe Surgery Saves Lives” checklist, including a postoperative debriefing with standardized counts of sponges and instruments, in order to decrease preventable morbidity and mortality in surgical patients.

EiC Philip Stahel

Editors profiles

"This is an exciting time to be involved in promoting a global culture of patient safety among all healthcare providers, particularly for the next generation of physicians and surgeons. Current patient safety protocols continue to fall short of protecting our patients from suffering unintended harm. Our journal provides a forum for reporting, discussing, and designing new patient safety standards for the future."

Philip F. Stahel, Editor-in-Chief, Patient Safety in Surgery

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