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Glendive Medical Center Only Hospital in Montana to Earn National Recognition for Safety in Surgery


Glendive, Montana, February 27, 2018 - Glendive Medical Center 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 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 electrosurgery devices during surgery. Glendive Medical Center 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.

"We are excited and proud to be the first hospital in Montana to receive this award," stated Lea M. Striegel, Director of Surgical Services, "We wouldn't have been able to accomplish our goal without the cooperation of or surgeons and appreciate their willingness to make positive changes. James Barnick, Surgical Services RN, took the lead on this project and did a great job getting staff engaged and willing to make changes."

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. 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, Glendive Medical Center is demonstrating its deep commitment to the health and safety of its staff and community."