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Clearing the air: Nurses push for smoke evacuation policies for Florida surgical rooms

by Brian Burgess | Mar 2, 2023 – In a move aimed at protecting healthcare workers and patients, State Representative Marie Woodson, a Democrat, and State Senator Ileana Garcia, a Republican, have introduced a pair of identical bills in their respective chambers (House Bill 587 / Senate Bill 380). The bills would require hospitals to adopt policies requiring the use of smoke evacuation systems in hospital operating rooms during certain surgical procedures.

Healthcare workers claim that smoke generated in operating rooms exposes them to the equivalent of smoking more than a pack a day of cigarettes, and patient advocates say it can cause cancer in people being operated on. The legislation has already passed in several states and is the subject of a national public affairs campaign by the  Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN).

AORN has been pushing for similar laws across the country, but a spokesperson for the organization did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story.

Nurses in the Sunshine State, though, are also pushing for lawmakers to back the measure, which could require some hospital and surgery centers to purchase and install expensive smoke evacuation systems that are designed to remove smoke, particles, and other harmful substances that are generated from the use of lasers and other specific tools during some surgical procedures.

Read more at the Capitolist