FDAnews Device Daily Bulletin

IS IT REALLY UNSAFE TO USE CELLPHONES IN HOSPITALS?

Dec. 6, 2005
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Cellphones are safe to use, so long as you have a relatively new, that is, digital, phone (not the old, clunky analog devices) and you stay at least three feet away from patients and medical devices such as pacemakers, ventilators, and electrocardiogram machines that may be in or near them. In the bad, old days -- like five years ago -- researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that with older phones and older medical equipment, there was a troubling 7.4 percent rate of ''clinically significant interference." The radio frequency energy emitted by the old phones was picked up as electromagnetic interference by the machines, sometimes skewing readings, said Jeffrey Tri, a Mayo Clinic electrical engineer.

The Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2005/12/05/is_it_really_unsafe_to_use_cellphones_in_hospitals?mode=PF)