Keep your cell phones off in hospitals: Experts

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Islamabad: Using cellular phones near hospital beds and critical care medical equipments can lead to electromagnetic interference, leading to immediate malfunctioning or misreading of the medical gadgets and endangering the lives of the patients.

Critical care equipment is vulnerable to electromagnetic interference posed by new age cellular phones. It can disrupt pacemakers, switch off ventilators and cause a lot of problems, Health News reported. Other malfunctions attributed to electromagnetic interference include complete stops with no alarms in syringe pumps and incorrect pulsing by an external pacemaker. To assess the potential danger of using mobile phones in hospitals, researcher recorded nearly 50 incidents of electromagnetic interference from cell phone use in hospitals and classified 75 per cent of them as significant or hazardous.

On testing 61 different medical devices, it was found that most of the incidents stemmed from the latest General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) signal, a new-generation technology that also allows wireless Internet access. Researcher found that 300 tests over a five-month period turned up no noticeable interference with important hospital equipment due to regular mobile phone use. The results underline the importance of keeping mobile phones switched off in hospitals.
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