Q: Smoke Evacuator Filters

Recently the filters in the Neptune suctions that are used when a smoke evacuator bovie pencil is used, have been getting contaminated with blood. It was suggested to have the surgeons not use this for suction of blood, but only for smoke. It is difficult to achieve this when doing a high fluid/blood loss case. Is this common? Each filter is approx. $500. Should this cost go to the patient? Each filter has an 80-hour lifespan, however once it is contaminated with blood, it needs to be tossed.

A: Stryker offers a fluid trap that costs about $10 to prevent fluid going into the filter.

A: Why would your surgeons/staff be using the smoke evacuator pencil to suction blood? We use regular suction tubing on the field to suction blood and then have the smoke evacuation tubing for removing smoke.

Q: Observers

Is there an age limit on observers to the operating room. Oftentimes children from public/private schools, community colleges and home-schooled children inquire about observing in the operating room. One hates to deny a child who is dreaming of being a doctor or nurse, but there must be some guidelines on who can observe.

A: We have a job shadowing program through our human resources department. High school students, 16 years old or older may participate. They are given education about HIPPA, attire, etc. We only allow them in the OR after the patient is draped. We feel anyone younger than high school is not appropriate. There is always YouTube!

A: Here is our policy:

  • Non-medical student observers must:
  • Provide reasons for his/her request
  • Be sponsored by a physician in good standing
  • Be approved by the chief of staff
  • Wear a hospital-issued identification badge
  • Only observe Monday through Friday from 06:30-15:00
  • Observe only with the sponsoring physician (may not provide any clinical care, write in the chart, etc) OBSERVATION ONLY
  • Be at least 16 years of age – (18 years of age if observing in the OR, ER, trauma, labor and delivery, cath lab, special procedures, and pediatric departments)
  • Provide Medical Staff with evidence of:
    • Two-step Tb test/CXR
    • Confidentiality agreement
    • Attend hospital associate training (orientation online)
    • Proof of immunization record
    • Sign an Observer Agreement
    • Provide a government-issued ID
    • Attend HIPAA awareness training
    • Notify the department they wish to observe in within 24 hours of approval
    • **Provide Surgery with 72 hours’ notice to prepare for OR Orientation (Covers observation in Surgery, L&D, Cath Lab, Special Procedures)
    • Provide a current resume