OSF Saint Paul earns national recognition for safety in surgery

Members of the Surgical Department at OSF Saint Paul, front row left to right, Kate Riva-
Foster, CRNA, Ken Potts, CRNA; second row, Chris Duffy, Patient Care Tech, Sharon Arthurs, RN, Diane Breedlove, Surgical Tech, Sarah Wittenauer, RN, Patsy Marks, RN, Janet Henry, RN and Martha Miller, RN; third row, Kayla Payne, RN and Surgery Services Manager, Darci Kettleborough, RN, Lori Etzbach, RN, Deb Martin, Surgical Tech, Jodie Borchelt, RN and Surgical Services Director, and Joni Zinke, Department Secretary, earned recognition for achievement in safety. (Photo contributed)

MENDOTA – OSF HealthCare Saint Paul Medical Center in Mendota has earned the Go Clear Gold 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 health care facilities that have committed to providing increased surgical patient and health care worker safety by implementing practices that eliminate smoke caused by the use of lasers and electro surgery devices during surgery. OSF Saint Paul Medical Center’s Surgical Department 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. OSF Saint Paul is one of only 18 facilities in the country that have achieved this award.

Surgical smoke is 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.

“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, OSF Healthcare Saint Paul Medical Center is demonstrating its deep commitment to the health and safety of its staff and community.”

AORN represents the interests of more than 160,000 perioperative nurses by providing nursing education, standards, and practice resources to enable optimal outcomes for patients undergoing operative and other invasive procedures.

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