Have you ever wondered why you are not allowed to use your cell phone in an emergency room of a hospital? The hospital staff always shakes a finger at you and says something about how cell phones interfere with sensitive instruments. They never say which instruments, or how exactly the interference happens.

Cell phones do interfere with a whole list of electronic devices: car radios, televisions, land line telephones, airline communications equipment and even wireless Internet signals.

The FCC warns that cell phones interfere with medical gadgets, so hospitals err on the side of safety, but four years of testing done by the Mayo Clinic" has shown that cell phone signals actually don't really interfere much at all with hospital equipment, primarily because of technological improvements in cell phones and hospital equipment. In fact, the two-way radios used by emergency personal interfere a great deal more than cell phones do, but never to the point that a patient has been affected.

This article argues that cell phones should be allowed in hospitals for the sake of conveying critical information to doctors instead of relying on paging systems.

The prohibition against mobile phones in hospitals may do more harm than good, a new report reveals.

Medical facilities prohibit cell phone use, but some doctors already use them. And it turns out they reduce medical errors because communication is more timely, a new study finds.

Mobile phones rarely cause electronic magnetic interference, Yale School of Medicine researchers reported today.

The study is published in the February issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia. It was based on 4,018 responses from attendees at the 2003 meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Of those who responded, 65 percent reported using pagers as their primary mode of communications, and of those, 40 percent reported delays in communications.

Of the 17 percent of respondents who said they used cell phones, only 31 percent reported delays

Regardless of whether cell phones cause interference or not, I'm all for banning them in hospitals in most cases. I think that doctors should be able to use them to relay time sensitive information, but I think the general public should be required to step outside.

If I were in the hospital, and I had to listen to some jackass carry on about grandpa passing a kidney stone, I'd beg for someone to pull the plug - or at least sedate me so I don't have to listen to it.

I think that patients should be allowed to use cell phones. Being in the hospital sucks. If talking to your mom on your cell phone while you are waiting to get your arm put in a cast makes you feel better, you should be allowed to do it.

Yup. That's my .02 on cell phones and hospitals.
What do you think?