Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mobile Phones in Hospitals

Finally, the Brits once again demonstrate their common sense. Mobile phones are used in most hospitals all the time, despite warnings posted all over hospitals, and I haven't seen a single patient killed by them - this is especially true with newer digital cellphones. In fact, cell phone use on the ward has been the standard in some hospitals I have worked at for years - their use signficantly improved communication between the doctor and nurse caring for the patient in those facilities.

What I HAVE seen, however, was an event several years ago (1999?) when a high definition TV tower in Cincinnati, OH was activated, it shut down the University Hospital, Cincinnati's entire telemetry unit due to direct interference: not a pretty site. Seems this happened at Baylor and Methodist Hospitals in Houston, TX, and this from a communication from Univeristy of Texas regarding another hospital in Minnesota:
My wife (PICU RN) confirmed that they don't allow cellular phones on their unit but she doesn't recall problems with radios. Interesting tale from one of their medical bulletins: when a Minnesota station started broadcasting its HDTV signal it disrupted heart monitors (readout only) in the general vicinity of the TV set in one of the rooms or lounges. Don't know what happened to the pacemaker-wearers. TV you could die for!
(My note: pacemakers weren't effected.) Funny how we never heard about this in the press.

-Wes

1 comment:

Michelle Ossiander said...

Someone, I do not know who decided that the medical freq. and the HDTV stations could be on the some Freq.and the TV stations have a higher claim. At the hospital I work at one a chanels started to cause drop out on the tele. We had to have GE come out and retune the system.

One the cell phones I have seen on some of the older ones where if the person is standing next to the montior interferance or drop out on the central station. It was a much bigger issue a few years ago and a vent. The phone almost shut the vents down.