Why are cellphones in hospital a hazard?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

Few devices have simplified our lives more than cellphones. With a few motions, we can call our friends, surf the Internet and play our favorite games. Doctors, too, have benefited from having a cellphone on them at all times. While pagers are still widely used in hospitals, mobile phones have made communicating instantly with someone without a pager much faster and easier. But cellphones may do more harm than good, especially in the operating room — and not because they distract doctors. Rather,unwelcome hitchhikers could be causing more patients to get sicker while they are being treated.

A recent study has shown that cellphones are a major attraction for some harmful tourists: bacteria. For the study, researchers examined more than 50 doctors — specifically their phones. The initial findings showed that more than 80 percent of the devices were veritable petri dishes, crawling with bacteria and other pathogens. After the initial test, doctors were asked to sanitize their cellphones. This dropped the percentage of “infected” devices to below 10 percent. But, after a week of carrying their phones around, about 75 percent of the phones had picked up the unwelcome visitors again

This study meant doctors’ phones could be responsible for many nosocomial infections; that is, those caused while patients were still in the hospital. Patients in the operating room are especially susceptible, as the protective layer of skin is often cut open to let all sorts of pathogens in.

While no conclusion was given, it seems logical that if doctors sanitized their phones often, the amount of patients who suffer a worsened medical condition may be reduced. Those who suffered a nosocomial infection in South Carolina should contact an experienced attorney immediately, as they may be entitled to compensation for medical malpractice. 


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