The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) recently awarded Mercy Medical Center Ohio’s first Go Clear Award™ for its achievement in eliminating hazardous smoke from its surgical procedures. The award recognizes 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.
Mercy earned its award by undergoing comprehensive surgical smoke education and testing and for providing the medical devices and resources necessary to evacuate surgical smoke during all smoke-generating procedures.
Paul Hiltz, Mercy president & CEO, says the award reflects Mercy’s unwavering commitment to protecting both patients and employees from health risks.
“At Mercy, we strive to consistently demonstrate leadership in every aspect of safety,” he says. “Ridding our surgery center of hazardous smoke is in keeping with our mission to provide quality, compassionate care for all, including our employees. I congratulate our surgery team who worked so hard to care for patients and their ‘Mercy Family’ to earn this achievement.”
Surgical smoke is the unwanted by-product of energy-generating devices that are used in 90 percent of all surgeries. The contents of surgical smoke include toxic chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, viruses, bacteria, blood and cancer cells. Inhalation and absorption of surgical smoke pose serious health risks to patients and surgical staff. 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% of health care workers across the U.S. understand the hazards of smoke exposure.
AORN represents the interests of more than 160,000 perioperative nurses by providing nursing education, standards, and practice resources—including the peer-reviewed, monthly publication AORN Journal—to enable optimal outcomes for patients undergoing operative and other invasive procedures. AORN’s 40,000 registered nurse members manage, teach, and practice perioperative nursing, are enrolled in nursing education or are engaged in perioperative research.
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