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news item News Tuesday, March 12, 2019 Tuesday, March 12, 2019 3:36 PM - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 3:36 PM

Shriners Hospital first in Utah to remove surgical smoke

Salt Lake City Shriners Hospital earns AORN “Go Clear” Award

The operating room staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City are the first in Utah to quit smoking in the operating room. Yes, you read that correctly.

Traditional surgical cautery during procedures in operating rooms produce what’s known as “surgical smoke” and OSHA reports an estimated 500,000 health care workers are exposed to laser or electrosurgical smoke each year. That’s an average daily impact of 27–30 unfiltered cigarettes for the operating room team, according to research cited on the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses’ website.  

Surgical plumes have contents similar to other smoke plumes and can contain more than 150 toxic compounds. Protective gear doesn’t ward against all fine particles, making it necessary to remove surgical smoke at the site through surgical tools that utilize smoke evacuation.

The journey from smoke-filled to smoke-free operating rooms is extensive, but one that Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City recently underwent with success.

Operating room staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City are breathing easier now after the hospital became the first hospital in the state of Utah to remove 100 percent of all surgical smoke in its operating rooms to help ensure the health and safety of staff and patients alike. The accomplishment has been recognized by the AORN Go Clear Award Surgical Smoke-Free Recogniztion Award, Gold Level.

Steve Grant, an operating room registered nurse, was one of the staff members leading the charge to make the changes. Grant credits the hospital’s success in removing 100 percent of surgical smoke to overcoming common barriers, such as obtaining full compliance among surgical staff, having full support of hospital administration, a team committed to the extensive five-part required training, resources available to make the investment in new equipment, and advances in technology that have led to better surgical tools.

There is no mandatory compliance to going smoke-free in Utah; however, Grant is hopeful that every hospital in Utah will “go clear.”

“We are really hoping to inspire other facilities,” said Grant. “We would like to hold ourselves out as an example that this can be done, it’s not that difficult and it’s important. This is an achievable goal.”

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report.  

For more information, please contact Dawn Wright, director of marketing and communications at 801-870-0701 or by email.

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