(3) The scrub should slightly separate the sponges to make sure all
sponges are counted (Figure 3-24).
Figure 3-24. The scrub preparing sponges for first sponge count.
(4) Sponges are to be counted at the same time by the scrub and the
registered nurse. Each sponge is to be separated from the others as it is counted (see
Figure 3-25). Both the specialist and the RN must see every sponge and must see the
radiopaque marking on each sponge. If all are not in agreement on the count, the count
must be repeated.
(5) If the number of sponges in a new pack is incorrect, the entire pack
must be removed from the room by the circulator and a new pack will be opened. The
number of sponges in a pack will vary with the type of sponge. A standardized count
routine is established in each hospital to help avoid a possibility of error. You must
learn the local policy and follow it with meticulous attention to detail.
(6) When the scrub and RN are in agreement, the count is recorded
immediately by the RN. Local policy will prescribe the manner in which the count is
recorded. Most installations use a count "board."
(7) If additional sponges are needed during the case, they are counted
and recorded in the same manner and added to the initial sponge count.
(8) Sponges are kept away from articles that might drag a sponge into the
(9) Kitner sponges (small rolls of heavy cotton tape and used with a
forceps) are kept in a medicine glass. Dirty ones are discarded into another medicine
glass to facilitate counting them.