RUSH University Medical Center received the 2022 Gold Environmental Excellence Award from medical technology company Stryker for diverting 10,000 pounds of waste during the 2021 calendar year. Through Stryker's reprocessing and collection programs, the bulk of that waste was provided by the medical center’s project for reprocessing pulse oximeters. During fiscal year 2022, RUSH collected 94,908 probes, which diverted more than 7,579 pounds of waste from landfills and saved $357,403. RUSH is ranked sixth in the country for pulse oximeter collection.
RUSH nurses and the environmental services (EVS) staff deserve thanks for their spectacular support of this program and for making such a huge impact on reducing the amount of waste generated while treating patients.
Spurred by the 10,000 pounds of waste diverted by RUSH, Stryker plans further environmental action, partnering with the National Forest Foundation to plant 150 trees in RUSH’s honor to help reforestation efforts in the U.S. Stryker has planted native longleaf and shortleaf pine trees in Georgia's Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest as well as Douglas firs in the Pinaleño Mountains in Arizona’s Coronado National Forest to support long-term habitats and increase the resiliency of the forests after wildfires and insect and disease outbreaks degraded the health of its ecosystem.
While reprocessing something as small as a pulse oximeter probe can seem insubstantial, the incredible efforts of RUSH nurses and the EVS staff show just how impactful collective action can be. Small collective actions like this help the health care sector decrease its impact on the environment.