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MDH Earns National Recognition for Safety in Surgery

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MACOMB, Ill. – McDonough District Hospital 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.

MDH 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.

“I appreciate the commitment that the MDH Surgery staff has demonstrated in order to attain this achievement of Gold level status designation for our organization. We evaluated our existing equipment and processes, trialed and selected additional products to effectively remove surgical smoke, provided staff education and testing, and evaluated our compliance in consistently and effectively evacuating surgical smoke during all smoke producing procedures,” said Director of Surgical Services Amber Depoy, RN, MSN-LM. “Our dedication to this initiative will further provide an added safety measure to continually protect our patients and fellow staff. I am proud of our team for their strong efforts in earning the AORN Go Clear award.”

Surgical smoke is common with many cases and is (or results in) the unwanted by-product of energy-generating devices that are used in 90 percent 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 health care 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, McDonough District Hospital is demonstrating its deep commitment to the health and safety of its staff and community.”

About AORN:

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.