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Cell Phones in Hospitals

March 31st, 2008

by Nick Jacobs
Cell phones prohibited in our hospitals.

About five years ago, on a visit to MIT, we had a casual discussion with a physician leader, and asked why we hadn't seen signs banning cell phones. His response was fast and simple, "They don't bother anything." Ever since that visit, we lifted the ban on cell phones in our hospital, and nothing has happened to anyone.

In March 2007, Mayo Clinic researchers published the results of a study in which they attempted to deliberately create interference in medical devices through the use of cell phones. They used them near 200 different medical devices in 75 patient rooms at their facility. They also tested BlackBerry models as well. The paper published in March of '07 in the "Mayo Clinic Proceedings" says there are no "clinically imprortant interferences" when cell phones were used in a "normal" way.

According to Mayo Clinic researchers, Jeffrey Tri, Rodney Severson, Linda Hyberger, the long-held notion that they are unsafe to use in health care facilities is not valid. Three hundred tests were performed over a five-month period in 2006, without incurring a single problem.

You can look this up at www.mayoclinicproceedings.com or on Snopes.com.

Makes you wonder if cell phones are safe to use on airplanes? Maybe they're banned because the phone companies can't track you down to bill you? Any studies out there on that one?

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