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  • Recycling Anesthetic Gas Will Reap Environmental Benefits
    Published September 22, 2012

    Despite a sea of green scrubs and green wall tiles, the operating rooms at The Scarborough Hospital are just not green enough. But TSH’s surgical program is committed to being environmentally conscious, and is always looking for new, innovative ways to become greener.

    Most people don’t realize it, but operating rooms are major greenhouse gas emitters. Anesthetic gas is a mix that effectively sedates patients for surgery, however only about five per cent of it actually gets absorbed by patients. The remaining 95 per cent is vented into the atmosphere and accounts for an average of 1,600 tonnes of eCO2 per year. Simply put, that’s the equivalent of 400 car exhaust per year.

    “This is an industry-wide problem,” says Kathy Bruce, Patient Care Manager, Operating Rooms. “When we realized there was a way to prevent it from happening, and that we could do it with no impact to patient care, the answer was obvious. We had to do it.”

    All of the operating rooms now have a Deltasorb Inhalation Anesthetic Gas Recovery System developed by Blue Zone. It’s a unique, patented process that uses a canister in line with the current scavenging system. Gas is captured in the canister, and then sent to Blue Zone for processing back into raw material to produce a new line of ‘green’ anesthetics.

    “Now, instead of emitting all of that gas into the atmosphere, we can recycle it,” says Kathy. “It’s a win-win for the environment and the hospital.”

    Dusanka Filipovic, co-inventor of the technology and President of Blue Zone, calls TSH is a leader and is setting standards of excellence in green initiatives.

    “The Scarborough Hospital is one of our early adopters,” says Dusanka. “That’s something to be proud of. TSH is a pioneer of this ‘made in Ontario’ technology, and other hospitals will ultimately follow in its footsteps.”

    The surgical department’s quest for greener ORs continues as they look at a number of other initiatives including recycling surgical drapes and using custom packs for surgical supplies as opposed to having each piece of equipment package separately.

    “We want to be responsible citizens,” says Nurallah Rahim, Patient Care Director, Surgery, Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation. “We want to play a key role in reducing waste, and this is just one of the many ways we can achieve that goal.”

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