Lenny Leclair went to the hospital for a routine surgery.
"I never stopped throwing up," Lenny Leclair said.
But he left much worse than he came in.
"I thought I was dying," Lenny said.
A scan revealed doctors had left a gauze sponge inside Lenny during the surgery. It pierced his colon.
"It was like a septic tank in there," Lenny said.
Lenny's case is not unusual.
"In the operating room, it's not uncommon, several times a month, the sponge count is off," Anthony Perricone, M.D., a cardio-thoracic surgeon at UC San Diego, said.
Until recently, unless surgeons re-open the patient, there was no way of knowing if the missing sponge was left inside or put in the trash.
"When you're done with your operation, you can wave the wand over it, and it will beep," Dr. Perricone said.
Doctor Perricone is part of a new generation of doctors using an RF sponge detection system in the OR, and the next generation of sponge detection is a mat, which automatically scans the body and warns the surgeon of any sponges they forgot about.
New technology in the OR that helps surgeons "see" what they may have left behind before it's too late. A study finds sponges are left behind the most when patients are male, or have a large BMI, or if their procedure is longer than four hours. More than two-thousand operating rooms in over 150 hospitals are using the RF assure system for detecting sponges.