Social Question

Val123's avatar

Is it really a bad idea to use a cell phone in a hospital?

Asked by Val123 (12684points) February 10th, 2010

They always have the “no cell phone” signs…but people do it all the time, and nothing is ever said. When my father-in-law was in the hospital the nurses took his cell phone TO him.

Also, if you can’t talk on the cell phones, is it OK to text? I don’t think so. The same technology is at work whether you’re texting or talking. If talking is going to disrupt something, so will texting.

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25 Answers

galileogirl's avatar

There are eletronic devices in hospitals whose signals could be disrupted, especially in the old days with cruder devices. They used to warn people with pacemakers not to be near a working microwave. The technology and shielding have been refined so that in a regular patient room there is probably no danger of electronic interference

jazzjeppe's avatar

When I was in for gallstone surgery I was allowed to use laptop, mobile broadband and my mobile, so I guess it depends on where you are. If you are in the ER it might not be a good idea due to more important equipment.

galileogirl's avatar

I always Tweet when I am in surgery, it helps to pass the time.

Val123's avatar

@galileogirl You have to have lots of surgeries? Yes, before digital, it was analog with was just a radio wave bandwidth.
I think they should take down the signs at the entry doors, and put up signs in specific areas where you actually can’t use the phone.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Depends where you are in the hospital, but to be honest every member of staff has one and without them the entire place would stop functioning.

Shae's avatar

<—- is hoping @galileogirl is not a surgeon. lol

Val123's avatar

@Shae LOL!!! Nice one!!

galileogirl's avatar

Counting ambulatory surgery unit visits average 1 every 2 years for the last 12 years-scheduled again for April 1. I need a ride home after. Anybody in the City available that day?

Arisztid's avatar

What @galileogirl said.

That being said, cell phones are not as much of a problem these days. I agree with @Val123.

Offhand I cannot think of any place in the hospitals where they interfere now except the cardiac unit and possibly ER. I am hardly every floated up there but they are stricter about devices for obvious reasons. It is still a good idea to ask and watch for the signs.

Cupcake's avatar

There are privacy issues in addition to the technological ones. If someone were to take a photograph or video and post it online the hospital could be fined.

The unit where I work is very technology-heavy (lots of monitors, equipment, etc.) and is also very sensitive to dissemination of patient information. Cell phones will be taken from visitors here.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

It’s BS ! Once, I visited a girlfriend in the hospital’s psych ward {she was there for depression & suicidal thoughts}
I pulled out my cellphone and the staff members acted as if I had pulled out a bomb !
I tried to make a phonecall while walking out the door and I was informed I needed to wait until I was completely out of the building !

Arisztid's avatar

@Cupcake I had not thought about photos. I tend to forget that people can do that. I do not have a cellular phone nor ever have had one.

CMaz's avatar

I use my phone in the hospital, in a plane in a tran, on the can.

Sam I am.

jca's avatar

a year and a half ago, i was in a hospital for a month. i used my cell phone and my computer and i was often seen by doctors and other staff, and nobody ever said anything. i think the technology now is such that it is not a problem

philosopher's avatar

I have been in Doctors offices that have a sign posted saying please turn off your cell phone. I have seen people carelessly speaking on them despite the sign. I think doing this is truly despicable .
I think the Doctors should tell their patients they will not treat them if they refuse to respect other patients welfare
Cells do interfere with pacemakers and other life saving technology.
I think it may depend on what area of a hospital you are in and what kind of Doctors office.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

@philosopher “IF” cellphones did interfere with pacemakers, there would be people keeling over in the subways and at any crowded place.

Val123's avatar

@Pretty_Lilly True that!

@philosopher The thing is, there may be some super sensitive areas of a hospital where they could interfere, but the consensus seems to be that this would not apply to Doctor’s offices (as they wouldn’t have super sensitive, and highly expensive equipment at an office) waiting rooms, or patient rooms, where the vast majority of visitors are located. To me, putting up “No Cell Phone Use” signs in places where it really is OK, is kind of like crying wolf. If people’s lives were really being threatened, then surely the practice would have been stopped cold by the staff. But the staff themselves talk on cellphones.

philosopher's avatar

The bottom line is that interference with medical equipment by devices that produce RF radiation is an issue for hospitals and medical-equipment makers, but the source of the problem is not limited to mobile phones.

John Moulder, PhD

Answer posted on 20 May 2004. The information

They do not have an absolute answer. People should have some consideration for others.

Val123's avatar

@philosopher My point is, either you can use cell phones in a hospital, or you can’t. If you truly might cause problems then they sure need to enforce it. I mean, in the beginning I NEVER would consider using a cell phone in a hospital. But then I see others, even staff and doctors using them so….I decided it just wasn’t that big of a deal. They were just crying wolf.

philosopher's avatar

The thing that angers me is that when signs are clearly posted some people ignore them. These are the same jerks that speak on their phones in the middle of Parking Lots and while they drive.
It reminds of people that don’t think it is important to wear a sit belt because they are not ever going to be in an accident. Their Children can do as they like. Their dogs don’t need to be leashed. It is an attitude. They are above the rules and laws. They couldn’t care less who gets hurt. If is them they sue.

Cupcake's avatar

@Val123 Some staff members in hospitals have special cordless phones that do not cause interference.

I personally think it’s childish to take the view of “if other people do it then I should be able to do it too.” If the rule is to not use them, then don’t use them. If you are allowed in certain areas, then use your phone there.

As I said before, the issue is bigger than interference. There are major issues of privacy and data protection. There are also issues of safety (such as in the psych ward where no visitors are allowed to bring cell phones).

jca's avatar

I know @Cupcake‘s comments were not directed at me only, but to explain my answer: For myself, it was not a matter of “if other people do it, i should be able to do it to.” it was a matter of, if it was a problem and i was seen by many staff, including doctors, in the month i was there, then i would think that if it were a problem one of those people would have told me to stop. Since many people saw me on cell phone in the time i was there, and nobody said “stop” then it must not be an issue.

Val123's avatar

@jca Exactly. It’s obviously not a serious issue.

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