NO2 use to resume
August 28, 2013
The use of Nitrous Oxide (N2O), or laughing gas, will resume in the obstetric units of four public hospitals on August 30, the Hospital Authority announced today.
The use of the pain-relieving gas was earlier suspended at Kwong Wah, Prince of Wales, Princess Margaret and Tuen Mun Hospitals for staff safety, as excess exposure to N2O was suspected in some obstetric units since last August.
The authority formed an expert advisory group and commissioned consultants from the University of Science & Technology to conduct a comprehensive N2O assessment in all public hospital obstetric units.
They recommended multiple control measures, such as enhancing the inspection and maintenance of the Anaesthetic Gas Scavenging System, optimising room ventilation, and boosting training and education of staff and patients on the issue.
Advisory group convenor, and the authority’s Head of Human Resources, Dr Derrick Au said checks at the eight obstetric units gave satisfactory readings well below the occupational exposure limit to the gas stipulated by the Labour Department.
The assessment shows the multiple control measures have been effective in bringing down N2O exposure and warrants its resumption in the four hospitals, he said, adding all obstetric units will implement N2O management programmes.