TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: What Happened to Me

Re: What Happened to Me

Matt Simpson (
Wed, 12 Apr 2006 10:31:19 -0400

In article <>, T
<> wrote:

> Interesting. I recently had to visit my ailing grandmother in the
> ntensive care unit of a local hospital. No warnings about cell phones
> and in fact saw staff use them.

> So I'd say yes, we can use our cell phones in hospitals.

It varies. One hospital where I spent a lot of time a few years ago
(as a visitor, not a patient) banned all cell phone use anywhere in
the building. I got in trouble on my first visit. There was a big
sign with a "no cell phone" symbol on the door between the ER waiting
room and the actual ER. I assumed it meant no cellphones beyond that
point, and was sitting in the waiting room yakking on my phone
(telling somebody else what little I knew about the patient), and was
told to take it outside. I hated to be one of those obnoxious
cellphone jerks who thinks rules don't apply to him, but the sign's
location really was confusing.

The official rule was that ALL cellphones had to be TURNED OFF
anywhere in the building. I'm sure there was no way to strictly
enforce it, and I'm not sure what they did about doctors.

Since that time, the hospital has proudly announced their new Vocera
system for staff communications:

It's voice over wireless IP, with all kinds of bells and whistles.
Slicker than hog snot. Staff carry little badge-size communicators
that allow them to get in touch with others. I assume it doesn't use
standard cellular frequencies. I don't know whether it uses the same
band as standard wireless IP, or whether there's some reason to
believe that whatever it uses is less likely to interefere with
medical equipment than cellular traffic.

On a more recent, work-related visit to the same hospital (it's owned
by my employer), I needed a network connection to the outside world.
Plugging a laptop into an open port on an ethernet switch we found in
a closet didn't work; they had a very strict firewall. The laptop
said it was picking up a wifi signal, but was unable to establish a
connection. I don't know whether it was seeing the Vocera system, or
whether they also had a standard WiFi system for data IP.

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