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Twelve Sponges

In the operating room of a large hospital, a young nurse was completing her first full day of responsibilities. “You’ve only removed 11 sponges, doctor,” she said to the surgeon. “We used 12.”

“I removed them all,” the doctor declared. “We’ll close the incision now.”

“No,” the nurse objected. “We used 12 sponges.”

“I’ll take full responsibility,” the surgeon said grimly. “Suture!”

“You can’t do that!” blazed the nurse. “Think of the patient.”

The surgeon smiled, lifted his foot, and showed the nurse the 12th sponge. “You’ll do,” he said.

Today in the Word, April 7, 1992