This study introduces life cycle assessment as a tool to analyze one aspect of sustainability in healthcare: the birth of a baby. The process life cycle assessment case study presented evaluates two common procedures in a hospital, a cesarean section and a vaginal birth. This case study was conducted at Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which delivers over 10,000 infants per year. The results show that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), waste disposal, and the production of the disposable custom packs comprise a large percentage of the environmental impacts. Applying the life cycle assessment tool to medical procedures allows hospital decision makers to target and guide efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of healthcare procedures.
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