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I want to marry somone November 22, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in humor, statistics.

…who can count. And unfortunately, the author of this article appears to be a guy.

Contrary to what you might think, the above wish will likely discourage over 99% of the people ( in my case, women) out there. Actually I should remember this so that I would have something to worry about when I am otherwise feeling good !

Okay, enough kidding. Here is more on the joy ( and virtues ??) of keeping count. Read the complete speech especially if you have any interest in medicine or the likes.

It doesn¹t really matter what you count. You don’t need a research grant. The only requirement is that what you count should be interesting to you.

When I was a resident I began counting how often one of our patients had something forgotten inside them after surgery — either a sponge or an instrument. It wasn’t very frequently: about one in 15,000 operations. But they could be badly injured. One patient had a 13 inch retractor left in him and it tore into his bowel and bladder. Another had a small sponge left in his brain, which caused an abscess and a permanent seizure disorder.

Then I counted how often such cases happened because the nurses hadn’t counted all the sponges like they were supposed to, or because the doctors ignored nurses’ warnings that something was missing. It turned out to be hardly ever.

I got a little more sophisticated and compared patients who had stuff left inside them with ones who didn’t. It turned out that the mishaps predominantly occurred in patients with emergency operations or operations in which something unexpected was encountered ‹ like a cancer when one expected appendicitis. Things began to make sense.

If nurses have to track fifty sponges and a couple hundred instruments during an operation, already a tricky thing to do, it is understandably much harder under emergency circumstances, or when unexpected changes require bringing in lots more equipment. Punishing people more therefore wasn’t going to eliminate the problem. Only a technological solution would‹perhaps a way of scanning for sponges and instruments in everyone.

If you count something interesting to you, I tell you: you will find something interesting.

I cant agree more. I have counted before. And continue to.

Actually, this is my fourth post today on medical science and doctors. Hopefully I don’t have to see one soon !



1. Harini - November 13, 2009

For a change, you seem to empathize with the medical fraternity. Nice change.

2. Harini - November 13, 2009

Or should I say sympathize, monsieur wordsworth?

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