Dr. Ravi Gupta thinks hospitals need to become a lot more environmentally friendly.
Hospitals and outpatient practices use a lot of energy and waste a lot of materials. Doctors tend to be focused on patient care rather than caring for the environment. Hopefully, that is starting to change.
Dr. Gupta, a physician practicing hospital medicine in Virginia, had been so bothered by the lack of an environmental policy at the his job that he did something: he developed and a plan to make the hospital system where he works greener and he helped implement it.
While volunteering on an outdoor project with National Geographic several years ago, Dr. Gupta became much more aware of the beauty of natural places and began to think about how hospitals and health systems create a lot of waste. After working at the Inova Health System in Fairfax, VA, he decided to take some action to reform waste management and recycling.
He contacted the hospital CEO, started a committee, and invited architects and engineers to help out. Interest has grown to include the 5 hospitals, 2 nursing homes and 90 physicians offices of the Inova Health System. “We got energy audits for all 5 hospitals, we are using all green cleaning products, and the we’re in the process of hiring a sustainability coordinator,” Dr. Gupta said. The hospital system will start recycling and using more locally grown food in the cafeteria.
Reprocessing and reusing surgical equipment would be another step in the right direction. “You’d be surprised at how much they throw away,” he said.
Dr. Gupta is proud of the accomplishments at his local hospital, but he would like to see other hospitals go green.
Photo from Dr. Gupta.