Archive Staff & Patient Safety 2019

Spread the Word About Surgical Smoke Safety

My evacuation success story could guide efforts to clear the OR air in your facility.

Andrea Dyer

Andrea Dyer, MSN, RN


Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
Big Improvement Smoke evacuation technology has changed for the better in recent years.

I had been suffering for a long time, and wasn't sure why. I was using my asthma inhaler 4 times a week. I had skin rashes dermatologists couldn't make go away. I thought it was just a byproduct of the different places I'd lived, but the common thread finally became clear. When I stopped working in ORs during smoke-producing procedures, I went from using my inhaler 4 times a week to 4 times a year. The skin rashes went away.

People who've never set foot in an OR have no idea what's it's like to work in a room filled with smoke. I've explained what burning flesh smells like, how it brings tears to your eyes. How you can't escape it, how you breathe it in and choke immediately no matter where you go in the room. Your surgical mask is not a barrier. You're a healthcare professional protecting the lives of your patients, but with exposure to smoke, you're risking your own life every single day.

What can you do to convince your staff and administration to install smoke evacuation systems? Perhaps our hard-won success story can give you some ideas.

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