Cell phones pose danger in ICU and Surgery

Do you leave your cell phone on all day, every day? Many people do, but it may pose a danger to your child and other St. Jude patients. Cell phones, BlackBerry™ devices and two-way radios (walkie-talkies) can cause problems with medical equipment. This includes camera phones. Machines used in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Surgery are the most sensitive.
Many groups around the country have studied the effects these small devices can have on medical equipment. Just to be sure, staff members in St. Jude Biomedical Engineering ran their own tests. They were able to stop ventilators and change the settings on some machines by activating the phones in close proximity to the equipment. Thank goodness those were just tests, and the machines were not hooked up to patients.
Do not risk harming your child or another St. Jude patient. Please turn off cell phones, BlackBerry™ devices and walkie-talkies before entering the ICU patient rooms and the operating rooms on the third floor of the Patient Care Center.

(reprinted from St. Jude Parents newsletter, Oct. 2004, amended April 2006)