Is there any evidence that modern cell phones REALLY cause problems...

  1. with hospital equipment? Personally, I think it is as much about not liking the concept of people walking around talking on the phone as it is real technical difficulties. Consider, that I hear people talking about using Palm Piolets all the time and don't many of them use fequencies similar to cell phones? Also, consider that even if you are not TALKING on your cell phone that if it is even turned on in standby that it is receiving and transmitting microwave radiation if it is GPS equipped (as almost all of them sold today are). Wouldn't it me simpler just to isolate the relevent equipment?
    Last edit by Roland on Feb 14, '04
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    About Roland

    Joined: Jul '02; Posts: 819; Likes: 27
    student nurses, BSN students,


  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Yes they do cause problems in our ER, Telemetry, CCU, and OR floors.
  4. by   donmurray
    Do you speak from experience? There's a kind of folk mythology about this topic. Early mobile phones did/may have interfered, back in the days when you needed a backpack to carry one, but they have developed since then, as has the equipment at risk.
  5. by   dianah
    I thought this thread was questioning if electromagnetic signals from phone frequently used and held near the head (like, up to the ear) causes increase in cancer. For another thread . . .

    Carry on.
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Some of it still inteferes, don't know the specifics on how, but that's one reason i got assigneed to CCU one night, apparently someone was sneaking in the phone in the pt's room and it was doing something to the pt next door.

    The ER gets very peezed if anyone even has a cell phone with the power on, let alone is using it.

    The phones still somehow affect the telemetry monitors, so they're just as peezed about cell phone use.

    The OR doesn't have as much of a problem with the cell phone use as the other areas (mainly because people there are more apt to follow the rules).
  7. by   P_RN
    Well.......we used hospital supplied cellphones on our unit....8-10 years ago and we were located above the Neuro ICU and the PICU. They ran all kinds of tests and no problems were found.....except of course we had to carry and answer the darned things.
  8. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Our med-surg floors use the hospital supplied ones.
  9. by   2ndCareerRN
    All of the research (limited) in this area has been been done on equipment while it was not attached to a patient (subject). Most of these tests show that there is some interference, if the phone is held very close (<3.5 inches) to the equipment.

    Because there is the possibility of interaction with equipment, and no tests have been done with live people hooked to the equipment most hospitals will err on the side of caution. That is why most hospitals still ban cell phones from monitored areas.

    I personally wish the research would come up with a definitive answer, and then all hospitals could form a policy based on factual evidence, not the feelings of TPTB.

  10. by   -jt
    Sometimes nothing happens at all. Been told it depends on the frequency the phone is using. Not too long ago, a vistior who ignored the many signs telling her to turn off her cell phone before entering our ICU, walked past our main nurses station as her cell phone was ringing. All the cardiac monitor consoles on the desk flickered with each ring of the phone and then went completely black. She turned off the phone & the monitor screens came back on a few seconds later, kind of like when you restart your computer. Another time, the cell phone of a visitor who was sitting at a pts bedside started ringing and the pts monitor flickered with the rings. It didnt go black but the EKG trace on the screen became thick and unreadable with artifact (electrical intereference). It returned to normal when he turned off his phone.
    The visitor was sitting on the opposite side of the bed from the monitor and the monitor is bolted high up on the wall so he was not that close to the monitor. Both of these visitors were much more than 3.5 inches away from it, but there was still interference. Dont know why it happens but it really does.
    Last edit by -jt on Feb 14, '04
  11. by   mitchsmom
    I think it depends on where you are and what equipment is being used, and how it is used (hardwired or not, etc.). My husband was in ER and my phone rang, one nurse told me to turn it off b/c it would mess things up, another nurse came in and said "don't worry about it, we're all hardwired and it doesn't make a difference". There is a guy at my husband's work who knows all about it (he's part of a medevac crew)... if I get the chance to ask him sometime I'll write what he says.
  12. by   a_crftyldy
    I carry a cell phone on me at all times mostly for emergencies. I've been in the ER, OR, ICU, and telemetry unit with it on and nobody has ever said anything to me about it, but that's my local hospital. Guess it depends on the facility. Several of my fellow students carry phones too and nothing has been mentioned to them either. Although, I did have a weird experience in the cath lab once. My mother called me and said she was returning my call. I asked her when I had called her and she said a few minutes before but that I never said anything (my mom has caller ID and my number came up on her unit). I told her that I didn't call her because I was currently in the cath lab for clinicals. Somehow, the x-ray equipment must have interferred with my phone and caused it to call my mom .