Hold the Phone.there may
be problems with cell phones in the hospital
Many consumers have heard of warnings regarding cell phone
use at the gas pumps, but did you know that there are frequently
warnings against cell phone use within healthcare facilities?
Most hospitals ban the use of cell phones for safety reasons.
It is possible that the radio frequency produced by the cell
phone may interfere with other radio frequencies used for
electronic medical devices. In theory, this could cause a
problem with important medical equipment such as heart monitors,
medication infusion pumps, and radiology equipment. Though
the risk of an actual problem occurring is thought to be small,
any malfunction could be serious for patients.
It was recently reported that a cell phone at a patient's
bedside was linked to a problem with a mechanical pump used
to administer medication directly into a patient's vein. This
medical device was set to administer medication to a patient
at a slow rate, however, it delivered an overdose of medication
to the patient in a short period of time. When the pump in
question was tested later in a laboratory setting, it was
found to be in good working order. When a cell phone turned
on to the "stand-by" mode was placed near the pump, the device
automatically began to deliver a rapid dose of medication,
far above the amount set on the pump. Fortunately, the patient
recovered from this mishap.
It is important that patients, families and visitors to healthcare
facilities understand the basis for the "no cell phone" rule
and follow the rules of the facility. Remember, even idle
cell phones left "on" have the potential to be dangerous to
patients. "Power-off" mode is the only way to carry your cell
phone within a healthcare setting. Please take note next time
you are asked to "Hold the phone".
Institute for Safe Medication Practices