Not just a phone: more a multimedia device
The risks of interference with electronic equipment by stray
electromagnetic radiation emitted by digital mobile phone can now largely
be discounted. As a result, lifting of restrictions on their use in
hospitals (and similar environments) seems a reasonable plea (Derbyshire
SWG, Editorial, Brit Med J. 2006; 333: 767). Unfortunately, mobile phones
are no longer simple verbal communcation devices, but now sport an array
of multimedia devices, including still and video photography - together
with the ability to instantly transmit captured images. "Happy slapping"
(and equivalent) videos are examples of the uses to which phone videos can
be put, with display of the recording on "U-tube" with minutes.
Sadly, it is inevitable that blanket removal of the ban on mobile phones
will lead to their use to record intimate personal images and clinical
events by phone users who are not necessarily subject to the ethical
strictures of the professions.
The ban on mobile phones must remain in force (and be enforced) in
clinical areas, and the reasons for the restriction made explicit.
Competing interests: No competing interests