FOX4: As hazardous smoke seeps past the radar in operating rooms, Saint Luke's works toward change

October 1, 2019

Surgeons, nurses, operating staff, and patients are exposed to surgical smoke when a procedure is completed in an operating room. The smoke produced in the OR every day can be equivalent to smoking 27-30 unfiltered cigarettes. Laura Spaw, a clinical resource nurse at  Saint Luke's East Hospital, led an initiative to reduce surgical smoke in OR's through a project she was able to spearhead at Saint Luke's. 

"We decided that even if we may not be able to do everything, we're going to start somewhere. We're going to make our patients and our staff safe," said Laura.

Watch FOX4's Regan Porter, story below. 


Saint Luke's East Hospital has received the Go Clear Gold 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. Saint Luke's East Hospital the only hospital in the metro area to receive that recognition. 

Only Colorado and Rhode Island have laws requiring smoke evacuation from operating rooms. "I think that definitely helps put pressure on the hospitals all across Missouri and Kansas to be able to make that change for the good," said Whitney Huddleston, surgical services nurse manager at Saint Luke’s East Hospital.

Saint Luke's is hoping to make all OR's smoke-free through the entire health system.