Northwest Texas Healthcare System (NWTHS) announced that it has earned the Go Clear Award™ for its achievement in eliminating hazardous smoke from its surgical procedures. The Go Clear Award is presented by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) to recognize healthcare facilities that have committed to providing increased surgical patient and healthcare worker safety by implementing practices that eliminate smoke caused by the use of lasers and electrosurgery devices during surgery. NWTHS 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.
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Surgical smoke is the unwanted by-product of energy-generating devices that are used in 90% of all surgeries. Its contents 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 healthcare workers across the U.S. understand the hazards of smoke exposure.
“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, NWTHS is demonstrating its deep commitment to the health and safety of our staff and community,” stated Ryan Chandler, CEO for NWTHS.