Buggy cell phones

Nurses General Nursing


Health - Reuters

Docs' Cell Phones May Spread Hospital Infections

By Deborah Mitchell

CHICAGO (Reuters Health) - Mobile phones used by healthcare personnel in the hospital can spread dangerous infectious agents, according to investigators in Israel.

In 2002, Dr. Abraham Borer, of Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, and others randomly screened 124 hospital personnel for the germ Acinetobacter baumannii, a common source of in-hospital infections.

They found that 12 percent of healthcare providers' cell phones were contaminated with the bug, the researchers reported here during the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

The results are disturbing because Acinetobacter baumannii has the propensity to develop resistance to almost all available antibiotics. It is especially dangerous because it "can survive on dry surfaces for a long period of time," Borer told Reuters Health.

"Cell phones provide a large dry surface that allows survival of A. baumannii--it requires no nutrients," he added.

A. baumannii is found in intensive care units, and the mortality rate among infected patients is very high -- between 50 and 60 percent -- Borer explained.

The bacterium was found not only on phones but also on 24 percent of the hands of the people tested, who included 71 physicians and 53 nurses.

"You can wash your hands correctly, as the guidelines recommend, but 'autoinfestion' commonly occurs" when cell phones are used by medical personnel in the hospital, the investigator said.

The use of mobile phones by medical personnel while they're caring for patients is no longer permitted at his institution.

Before this study was conducted, cell phones had completely replaced the traditional pagers among physicians and nurses. "We are now exploring the possibility of using pagers again or some type of device that can be worn on the wrist that doesn't require hand contact," Borer said.

Ya gotta wonder sometimes how anyone gets out of a hospital



2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

Exactly the same situation for land-line phones, of course. It is always interesting to see nurses and others still wearing the gloves they have been using to deal with a patient, while talking on the nursing station phone! Duh!

(Not to mention med carts, door knobs, and computer keyboards and mice.)

When you ask, "Ya gotta wonder sometimes how anyone gets out of a hospital alive." I can only say "many do not" and nosocomial infections are rampant, as we all know.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

Exactly,, anyone ever remember seeing the lysol commercial where the lady sprayed the telephone to "kill germs on contact"?

How many of us actually go through the house when we have sick kids and wash toys, door handles, telephones, cabinet pulls, drawer fronts? Imagine whats growing on those in a hospital.

Just a few months ago, i wrote up a complaint to the housekeeping department because as they cleaned thoroughly the beds and tables when a patient is discharged, they NEVER clean the room, closet, or bathroom doors. They wipe the handles on the doors but how many see people going into patients rooms and pushing the door open and closed with their hand a foot above the door handle... Yuck!!!! Did ya ever notice the door about a foot above the handle on your conference room or report room doors? Check it out, they are probly pretty grubby, ours were.

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