Danger in specialized units?


About 11 years ago a good friend of mine, who worked ICU, developed leukemia. While performing as a case manager about, six years ago, when getting reviews I talked to several case managers in the hospital who discussed some of the new admits (who happened to be licensed nurses in intensive care units) and were going to begin chemo and bmt treatments. Now I am teaching a class at a local college. One of the "new" instructors, who previously worked MICU and floated to other high acuity units, has now been diagnosed with ALL. Have heard some bioengineers remark in the past that some of the electronics associated with these units "may be altering our cellular code."


790 Posts

It doesn't shock me. We seem to have a high incidence of cancer among physicians and nurses from the ER, NICU, ICU and a few med/surg floor who have had cancer, some of them have survived and some haven't. All different types of cancer. We called to have OSHA come in and they said we were within the "norm". Doesn't help that the place where I work is built on a former swamp!

Anybody know if there are any studies on this???

Thanks for the info.

boggle, ASN, RN

393 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg.


I've heard about several studies trying to find links between electromagnetic fields and disease. The last I heard

( on NPR Science Friday- don't remember who the researcher was)no conclusive evidence of any cause and effect had been found, BUT more research was encouraged.

There are so many variables to consider with these illness. Wish we knew more.

There are way too many alarming stories based on anecdotal evidence, but far too few with a scientific basis. Coincidences can really make for worry!

Thank goodness for those finely honed critical thinking skills practiced in nursing school!!

Thanks for the interesting post. You've made me curious to follow up, see what's new on the subject.


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.
Have heard some bioengineers remark in the past that some of the electronics associated with these units "may be altering our cellular code."

Have been going to a nonconventional physician for awhile. He practices kinesiology. He stated that the strong electromagnetic fields in the cardiac intensive care unit in which I work was creating havoc in my personal energy fields, my immune system, and my health in general. (I was feeling so LOUSY at the time.) Dr Mercola's web site also has some valuable information about EMF's. http://www.mercola.com/article/emf/emf_dangers.htm


1,041 Posts

Okay - now this is interesting. I do not want to be exposed to ionizing radiation because it's a sure killer. I used to feel good about never having talked on a cell phone, but can only imagine the super high wavelengths going around my head with all the wireless e-charts rolling around. Plus the mobile x-ray machines. Not to mention the barium in many enteric patients :-(

In the Marines, they gave us a special clip to wear with our dog tags to meanure any risiduals we came around. This is very interesting, thank you everyone!


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

BTW, I refuse to wear my personal locator badge anymore (it's parked permanently in my locker) because of the EMF's that it emits (and wearing it so close to vital organs). There are some interventions one can try that really helped me with the EMF's at work. PM me if you would like further details.


83 Posts

All of this information is very interesting. One thing I have also heard is that pilots are exposed to increased radiation due to the increase in elevations. Then when you figure they use all of that specialized equipment, they are really increasing their chances of problems. Some people question why I don't use the cell phone I own, anymore. I have my reasons.


4,516 Posts

This is an interesting topic. I recently had half my thyroid removed due to a overgrowth of tissue....I was NOT found to be hypothyroid. The question the docs kept asking me is have I been exposed to radiation...I answered, well small amounts over the last 25 years, yes, as we do daily portable chest films in ICU...I can't help but wonder.....I was never given a radiation detector to wear like the RT's had...

Also anyone remember when chemo first came out---back in the 1970's we were not aware of the dangers and did not wear gloves nor mix under a hood like now....wonder what THAT might do to us to.

Good thread! :)


107 Posts

Mmmmm......I was just told my thyroid level is a bit high. I was also one of those chemo nurses before gloves and hoods. Then I did cardiac telemetry. I almost never leave the area when they are doing an x-ray on a confused patient.

This is one very interesting thread. I, also, have been diagnosed with a non-cancerous, but thickened uterine lining (removed). What is nursing doing to us?


1 Article; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in Everything except surgery. Has 27 years experience.

You know... I can remember when a long time ago, they were talking about having all hospital personnel, especailly those working on the the floor above and immediatly below Xray depts. wearing radiation badges. There was a lot of talk about this for awhile...especially while working in the NICU, where we would have rt Xray, and KUBs done for babies on vents, and with Jejunostomy tubes. We had a nurse and doctor's baby born with muiltiple defects. One tragic case was a baby born to a nurse, and an officer in the military. The baby was born with missing toes...ears that were only buds, no eyes..just empty sockets...heart on the wrong side! The horrible thing was, that there was a verbal, unwritten order not to give this baby any nutrition, not to bag it... or give blow by, or anything else to keep this baby alive! We disobeyed this verbal order daily! Nurses were reluctant to care for this child...because each day it meant setting themselves up for being reprimand, or fired! But we did it anyway...as no one had the heart to just do nothing...:o We got hollered at everyday...when the doc came in to see if the baby had gone or was about to go yet! No one got into any real trouble...as there was nothing they really could do to us...and they didn't have the balls to write this order...:o But I know ...we would have still did the same thing..:cool:

After a while you didn't heard anything else about us all wearing badges. I think they realize what a can of worms they were opening, and decided to play dumb...:(


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

I'm glad I'm getting out of the ICU....


25 Posts

In the 70's I carried Chemo from the pharmacy to the floors without gloves or any precautions. We also used liquid cocaine then to stop nose bleeds and would just pick that up from the pharmacy. Also held many children down to position for x-ray without protection. What we didn't know in those days. And what price are we paying now?

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