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Safety Messaging Regarding the Use of Plastic Cord Clamps at Caesarean Section

Released on - 28/09/2020

Safety Messaging Regarding the Use of Plastic Cord Clamps at Caesarean Section

Safety Messaging Regarding the Use of Plastic Cord Clamps at Caesarean Section

Situation: Plastic cord clamps are being used in some maternity units, in place of Spencer Wells forceps, to clamp the umbilical cord following birth at caesarean section.

Background: Following an incident regarding a Spencer Wells forcep cutting through an umbilical cord, it was identified that a small number of maternity units have changed their local practices and now use a plastic cord clamp to clamp the umbilical cord following birth at caesarean section.

Assessment: These cord clamps are not radiopaque and therefore would not be visible on X-Ray if they were to be retained during a caesarean section. The National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures (NatSSIPs) stipulates, under section 4.11 ‘Prevention of retained foreign objects’, that Local Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures (LocSSIPs) should ‘cover all potentially retainable items used in procedures.’

Recommendation: If used, plastic cord clamps must be counted in the instrument count, both prior to and following the caesarean section in accordance with section 4.11 of the National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures. Please see here for additional resources on NatSSIPS. The scrub practitioner should be responsible for including the device in the counting procedure. Please see here for The Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP) information on accountable items, swab, instrument and sharps count.

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