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St. Luke’s Wood River Recognized for Smoke-Free Surgery
Wednesday, January 11, 2023


St. Luke’s Wood River has achieved national recognition for taking a big step towards increasing the safety of its patients and health care workers in its surgical ward.

The hospital has earned the Go Clear Award for eliminating hazardous smoke from its surgical procedures.

The award presented by the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) recognizes health care facilities that implement practices that eliminate smoke caused by the use of lasers and electrosurgery devices during surgery. AORN represents more than 160,000 perioperative nurses.

The hospital team earned its award by undergoing comprehensive surgical smoke education and testing and by providing the medical devices and resources necessary to evacuate surgical smoke during smoke-generating procedures.

Surgical smoke is a by-product of energy-generating devices that are used in 90 percent of all surgeries. Its contents include such toxic chemicals as benzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide. Surgical smoke also includes such byproducts as viruses, bacteria, blood and cancer cells, meaning that inhalation and absorption of surgical smoke pose serious health risks to both patients and surgical staff.

The average daily impact of surgical smoke for a surgical team is equivalent to inhaling between 27 and 30 unfiltered cigarettes.

“Total evacuation needs to become the standard for all procedures that generate surgical smoke,” said Linda Groah, the CEO and executive director of the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses. “With this award, St. Luke’s Wood River is demonstrating its deep commitment to the health and safety of its staff and community.”

Etta Wood, manager of Nursing and Patient Care Surgical Services for St. Luke’s Wood River, said that the award speaks to the positive culture the hospital has in its operating rooms.

“Patient safety along with staff/provider safety is the foundation for our daily work,” she said. “I am grateful to have a team that is vested in caring for each other as much as we are for our patients.”

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