Centennial Hills Hospital is one of only five hospitals in the country, and the first in Nevada, to earn the Go Clear Award™ to eliminate hazardous smoke during surgical procedures. The award is presented by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN).
“This is an important advancement in the health and safety of our patients, employees and medical staff,” explained Sajit Pullarkat, CEO of Centennial Hills Hospitals. “We’re proud to be a leader in reducing surgical smoke by investing in smoke evacuator equipment and providing education to everyone in the operating room so they understood the impact of this smoke on their and their patient’s health.”
According to AORN, surgical smoke is a byproduct when laser and electrical devices are used during procedures, primarily to cut tissue, then quickly cauterize the capillaries and blood vessels to minimize bleeding.
“It creates a zap of electricity that creates a plume of smoke containing toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, viruses, bacteria and blood,” explained Jeff Belcher, RN, BSN, Director of Surgical Services at Centennial Hills Hospital and the leader of the hospital’s Go Clear™ initiative. “Inhaling and absorbing surgical smoke during multiple surgeries over multiple days takes a serious health toll on our surgical staff and surgeons. Once our staff learned about its impact, they quickly embraced it. I’m very proud of our work to be one of the first in the United States to earn the Go Clear™ award, and to continue finding new ways to improve patient and staff safety in the surgery department.”
“Total evacuation needs to become the standard for all procedures that generate surgical smoke,” said Linda Groah, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN, CEO/Executive Director of AORN. “With this award, Centennial Hills Hospital is demonstrating its deep commitment to the health and safety of its staff and community.”
The other five hospitals in The Valley Health System are either enrolled or planning to enroll in the program.
AORN estimates that surgical smoke occurs in 90 percent of all surgeries.
According to AORN, studies compare the inhalation of smoke from vaporized human tissue to the smoke created by cigarettes; the average daily impact of surgical smoke to the surgical team is equivalent to inhaling 27-30 unfiltered cigarettes. Today, it is estimated only 50 percent of health care workers across the U.S. understand the hazards of smoke exposure.
The Go Clear Award is presented by AORN to recognize health care facilities that have committed to providing increased surgical patient and health care worker safety by implementing practices that eliminate smoke caused by the use of lasers and electrosurgery devices during surgery.