"Misguided" ban on mobiles in hospitals?

This article appeared in the Daily Mail this morning.

"Hospitals accused over "misguided" ban on mobiles." Hospitals should not ban mobile phones over "mythical" risks to patients, say experts. They believe the benefits far outweigh the negligible dangers of using mobiles near sensitive medical equipment and accuse managers of hiding behind over-zealous safety concerns. Freeing up restrictions could benefit doctors and other health staff, while patients would not have to use expensive bedside phones systems. An editorial in the British Medical Journal today accuses hospitals of acting in a draconian fashion in banning mobiles. Sociology lecturer Dr. Adam Burgess of Kent University, and Dr. Stuart Derbyshire, of Birmingham University say there is no evidence they cause problems in most wards. A 1997 study by the Medical Devices Agnecy showed mobiles affected just four per cent of medical devices at a distance of one metre. But the figure was ten times higher for the handsets used by porters and emergency services personnel. The intereference was "ultimately harmless" although it could trigger alarms and meant electrocardiograph recordings had to be repeated. Dr. Burgess said phones affected pacemeakers but only when they were held against the patient's chest. He said ringtones could be irritating but were not a risk, adding "Concerns about patient safety do not justify zealously enforced no-phone areas, which can cause arguments between staff, patients and visitors". And he claimed the motives for hospital managers maintaining no-mobile zones were open to question, as they might lose revenue from companies that run pay-as-you-go bedside line services. Bans are an easy target for managers in an era of anxiety about patient safety. But many patients would prefer using their own mobiles rather than costly in-house systems. He added: "Restrictions on mobile phone use can be implemented easily because they seem relatively inconsequential, and the restrictions make people think safety concerns are being taken seriously." But Dr. Burgess fears managers could still bring in rules to keep mobiles out of wards, perhaps by barring camera phones to protect patient's privacy. The practical problems of identifying such phones might lead to a total ban in practice. He said, "We want hospital managers and clinical directors to adopt a more flexible approach to the use of mobile phones on the basis that the advantages clearly outweigh their largely mythical risks." An agency spokesman said there should not be a blanket ban. But he added: "The agency recommends mobile phones are not used in critical care areas such as intensive therapy units, special care baby units or where patients are attached to complex devices."

Regards, V.

(note - the word "mythical" appearing and Dr. Burgess is back on the scene!)


There is quite clearly an MOA agenda here - firstly because the thrust is solely on decrying the risk associated with mobile phone radiation and, secondly, because that well-known buffoon Burgess has been let out of the Mad Hatter's company to tell his traditional fairy stories.

Ten years ago, I fell off the roof and shattered my left knee and tibia. Surgery to rebuild the damage was carried out on the following day and I spent a further 9 days in a hospital ward of 12 occupied, and quite tightly packed, beds. Think of the future as considered acceptable by these fools - the prospect of people lying for days on end in pain or considerable discomfort at the same time surrounded by punters chattering inanely on their mobiles for 24 hrs a day. What price recovery?



I have just sent this to the BBC:

I believe your recent story 'Doctors attack mobile phone rules' shows significant bias toward the mobile phone industry's stand point. As well as the risk of equipment malfunctions which was not ruled out the major risk to recovering patients is the microwave signals used by these devices. These signals have been shown time and time again to cause biological damage; double-strand DNA breaks (see http://tinyurl.com/y8r2ce - a direct stepping stone to cancer, damaging the blood brain barrier ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2053565.stm ) etc. See http://www.schnews.co.uk/archive/news561.htm for a very informative article. Do you think someone recovering from cancer should be using a mobile phone? Your story has not taken any of these risks into account and has actually put the words 'Mythical Risks' in bold. While your story has focused only on risks to equipment malfunction, the fact that these other risks are ignored gives the impression that equipment malfunction risks are the only ones that should be taken into account. Do you not consider this a form of lying by omission? Every time I have seen a story that touches on the scientific evidence of health risks, the mobile phone industry is given a chance to lambaste the research with some well spun propaganda, however when the mobile phone industry puts out a PR story I do not see the same opportunities given to the many groups who are trying to raise awareness of these very real, well researched, peer reviewed and proven dangers. I consider this to be biased reporting on an issue that desperately needs to be highlighted.



Wednesbury Action for the Removal of Telephone masts.


Can you believe this? I don't believe it ! Aaaaaagh.

I think everyone should send Tom Watson an email complaining about his lack of knowledge on this subject and therefore his ability to comment. He is a local MP in Sandwell and has publicly supported our campaigns against the siting of masts in his constituency. Was this just a vote getter?

The effects of mobiles on equipment is still under some doubt, but the intrusion of these phones on patients and visitors alike would be unbearable. Can you imagine what it would be like with dozens of people, especially teenagers and the like playing games, constantly texting, loud conversations all over the place. This would also justify additional masts close by to cope with the extra traffic. Hell on earth.

Not only this, but Tom Watson must be made aware of the adverse health implications that go along with increasing over use of these Devils toys. Maybe he should encourage and promote the continued use of land lines in hospitals at a cheap rate.



Using mobile phones in hospitals: what's the worst that could happen?



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