Van Wert Health Earns National Recognition for Eliminating Surgical Smoke

Van Wert Health has been awarded 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 reducing surgical smoke caused by lasers and electrosurgery devices.

“The Surgical Team at Van Wert Health is proud to be making strides to make our operating rooms a safer place for our patients and staff,” shared Brad Denning, Director of Inpatient and Perioperative Services, who has been leading the surgical smoke-free program at Van Wert Health. 

Surgical smoke is a hazardous material full of unwanted by-products from the energy-generating devices that are used in 90% of all surgeries. The smoke contains toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, viruses, bacteria, blood and cancer cells. Needless to say, inhalation and absorption of surgical smoke poses serious health risks to patients and surgical staff. The average daily impact of surgical smoke to a surgical team is equivalent to inhaling 27-30 unfiltered cigarettes. An estimated 500,000 healthcare workers are exposed to laser or electrosurgical smoke each year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

To counteract the dangerous smoke, exhaust machines have been installed and other protocols have been put into place to cut down on emissions and create a smoke-free operating room.  "While we have had smoke evacuation systems in place for some time, we are grateful for the new equipment that we implemented with the expansion of the hospital last year," said Denning.  "We utilize stage-4 filtration equipment in our procedure rooms, which remove particles at the microscopic scale."