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CHCS earns national recognition for surgery safety

Surgery at Community HealthCare System has always been safe, but it recently became even safer. CHCS has earned the Gold Level Go Clear Award from the Association of perioperative Registered Nurses, or AORN, and Medtronic for the highest level of achievement in eliminating hazardous smoke from surgical procedures. 

Surgical smoke is the by-product of energy-generating devices used in many surgeries. The smoke can include toxic chemicals as well as viruses, bacteria, blood, and cancer cells, so inhalation and absorption of surgical smoke can pose serious risks to both patients and surgical staff.

According to Kay Lyn Mueting, RN, Certified Perioperative Nurse, and CHCS Surgery Manager, protecting staff and patients from the hazards of surgical smoke led her to explore ways to eliminate smoke from CHCS operating rooms.

“Our team completed training and education modules and learned how to use devices that removes smoke during surgical procedures. We successfully implemented the new procedures in our OR according to a recent chart audit, monitoring compliance and criteria set for by AORN and Medtronic,” Mueting said.

CHCS is one of only 300 hospitals nationwide that have gone smoke-free, and it’s the only hospital in Kansas to earn the honor. View a list of recipients.

“Total evacuation needs to become the standard for all procedures that generate surgical smoke,” said Linda Groah, RN and CEO and executive director of AORN.

“With this award, Community HealthCare System is demonstrating its deep commitment to the health and safety of its staff and community,” Groah said.

CHCS CEO Todd Willert said the surgery team’s work is one of many examples of how the organization has adopted the most stringent safety standards.

“I’m proud of our providers and surgery team for rising to the challenges of making our OR a safer place and protecting all from the spread of COVID-19. We have strived to take advantage of available opportunities even during a difficult time to ensure that we provide the highest standards of safety for patients and associates,” Willert said.  


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