Can Operating Rooms Be More Sustainable? Creating a Framework for Change

“Dr. Amir Ghaferi, M.D., M.S., didn’t always think about how much surgery contributes to greenhouse gas, solid waste and pollution generation. Now, he can’t help but notice it. “I’m so attuned to it now. I’ll ask why something we didn’t need to use was opened. The actual cost of the items and the product packaging is huge and at the end of a procedure I’ll pay attention to the bags and bags of garbage from a one-hour case,” Ghaferi says. Such awareness can be painful, but it’s also a catalyst for change, and Ghaferi has University of Michigan fourth-year medical student Emily Johnson to thank for his sensitive antennae. Johnson was first author on a paper published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst that outlined a framework for surgery departments to move toward a “triple bottom line”—considering environmental, financial and social factors in their operations—in order to be more sustainable.” …Continue Reading